Health Minister: Malaysia has 459 psychiatrists now, will need 720 by 2025 and 952 by 2030 | Malaysia

Health Minister Khairy Gamal El-Din said that there are currently 459 psychiatrists at the level of the republic, of whom 256 are in the facilities of the Ministry of Health, and 203 are in the facilities of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Higher Education and the private sector.  - Reuters photo
Health Minister Khairy Gamal El-Din said that there are currently 459 psychiatrists at the level of the republic, of whom 256 are in the facilities of the Ministry of Health, and 203 are in the facilities of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Higher Education and the private sector. – Reuters photo

Kuala Lumpur, December 2 – Malaysia currently has 459 psychiatrists and you would ideally need to add 261 of these specialists in another four years amid a greater focus on people’s mental health and well-being.

Based on the latest publicly available Ministry of Health data, malay mail She calculated that the country would need an additional 493 psychiatrists by 2030 to meet the needs of the country’s projected population at that time.

Health Minister Khairy Gamal El-Din had said that these target numbers are based on targets for the proportion of the population that the doctor would ideally serve.

In a parliamentary response written on November 29, A

The Ministry of Health is targeting a ratio of one doctor to every 50,000 people in 2025, and by 2030, this ratio will increase to one doctor for every 30,000 people.

“The projected need for psychiatrists according to the ratio of one psychiatrist to 50,000 of the Malaysian population is 720 people in 2025, and 952 in 2030, and this need will be reviewed from time to time, based on the need for services,” he said.

To achieve the target numbers for the number of psychiatrists in Malaysia, the Ministry of Health said it is constantly working to increase these figures, including by reassigning retired Malaysian psychiatrists on a contract basis to work with the ministry on a needs-based basis.

Another measure is the increase in the care opportunities provided by Hadiah Latihan Persekutuan (HLP) for physicians to undergo specialized training under the Latihan Kepakaran Sarjana Perubatan Program in Psychiatry from 46 places in 2015 to 57 places in 2021.

The Department of Health also said it increased sponsorship or scholarship opportunities for the psychiatry subspecialty training program from two slots in 2016, to 13 places in 2021.

As part of efforts to increase the number of psychiatrists in Malaysia, the ministry said medical officials can also undergo the parallel track of training to be specialists using qualifications from abroad such as Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (MRCPsych).

The minister was responding to Datuk Njeh Koo Ham, Member of Parliament in Berwas, who requested the ideal number of certified counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists required for the size of Malaysia’s population, and the steps the government would take to achieve these figures.

Specialist Doctors

Recently, contracting doctors in Malaysia said that they were denied the opportunity to apply for an HLP scholarship which will enable them to become a specialist. It seems that such opportunities are available only to their peers who hold permanent positions in the Ministry of Health.

But in September, Khairi reportedly told Dewan Rakyat that the government was looking into opening HLP applications to contract with doctors as well.

In response to Ngeh, the health minister also told clinical psychologists, there are 66 in Malaysia, 58 of them in government hospitals and eight in private health facilities.

The minister said that there are now 9,580 accredited consultants registered with the Malaysian Council of Advisors and working in both the public and private sectors, of whom 346 are working as consultant officers in Ministry of Health facilities.

The ministry said it has taken initial steps to meet the needs of Malaysians for mental health services, by procuring the services of 200 counselors with a one-year contract from August 2020 to August 2, 2021, who will be appointed to local health offices nationwide.

These 200 consultants are assigned to 138 district health offices to provide scheduled services in 831 health clinics nationwide, with the Ministry of Finance agreeing on March 25, 2021 to extend their contract for another year with the extension period from August 3, 2021 to August 2, 2022.

The Ministry of Health said a total of 111,150 patients in health clinics nationwide received psychiatric and counseling services from these contract staff both face-to-face and online during the period from October 2020 to May 31, 2021.

Khairy said there are now 9,580 accredited consultants registered with the Malaysian Council of Advisors and working in both the public and private sectors, of whom 346 are working as consulting officers in Ministry of Health facilities.  - Program picture
Khairy said there are now 9,580 accredited consultants registered with the Malaysian Council of Advisors and working in both the public and private sectors, of whom 346 are working as consulting officers in Ministry of Health facilities. – Program picture

The Ministry of Health welcomes more mental health insurance policies

Member of Parliament for Pulai Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayyub on November 29 asked the Minister of Health whether the government was willing to propose a medical cost insurance policy for mental health patients, in light of the exorbitant medical and counseling cost for mental illness.

Khairy responded in writing that the Ministry of Health recognizes the importance of insurance policies for mental health patients for counseling and treatment, given the high cost of these services in private facilities, and because patients in the low-income B40 group may have difficulties covering these costs. .

The minister also said that there are now three insurance companies offering insurance policies with mental illness benefits and protections, namely AIA Bhd, Etiqa Life and Prudential BSN.

The department said the AIA Bhd provides coverage of up to RM1,500 annually for psychological counseling fees, while the Trust provides coverage for mental illnesses diagnosed by psychiatrists such as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

The department said another insurance company, Prudential BSN, offers coverage for outpatient psychiatric counseling, treatment and medication for mental illnesses such as depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The response stated that “the Ministry of Health welcomes the proposal and supports the efforts of more insurance companies to provide insurance policies for mental health patients, especially to expand the scope of services in line with the Ministry of Health’s vision.”

Besides, the ministry said the government is also implementing initiatives to ensure access to mental health interventions and treatments in government health facilities via the National Mental Health Strategic Plan (2020-2025), which is driven by public health approaches with initiatives such as to promote mental health for all society.

Initiatives also include ensuring the provision of and access to comprehensive and quality mental health services, strengthening preparedness for mental health services during crises and disasters, and increasing collaborative efforts between agencies.

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