Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Health Ministry To Relocate Mental Patients To Ordinary Hospitals

PUTRAJAYA, June 13 (Bernama) -- The Health Ministry will relocate patients from mental hospitals to ordinary district and state hospitals where improved treatment facilities are now available.
"This is also to remove the social stigma society casts on patients at mental institutions," Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said Tuesday.
As such, he added, the development of treatment facilities would be intensified and more nurses be trained to serve as counsellors at the district and state hospitals.
"We (the ministry) will strive as far as possible to keep these patients away from the mental hospitals. They can be sent to the district or state hospitals instead," he told reporters after opening a seminar on mental health organised by Puspanita, the civil service association of women employees and wives of male employees, here.
Dr Chua said the question of mental health had been given prominence in the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), and that the RM600 million allocated for human capital development under the 9MP would also be used to train hospital staff, particularly nurses as counsellors and medical specialists in the relevant disciplines.
He said the ministry would also establish a committee on the development of treatment for mental disorders to help the ministry provide adequate medical officers and staff and in determining quality treatment of mental illnesses.
The committee would be headed by director-general of Health Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican, and it would have four sub-committees, he said, adding that the committee would also take charge of developing training programmes for the counsellors.
Dr Chua also said the ministry would conduct a study on the legal aspects to ensure that outdated laws were amended.
"The ministry would also encourage efforts to educate society about mental disorders, as is being undertaken now by non-governmental organisations.
"Studies conducted in the country and abroad show an uptrend in the number of cases of mental disorders," he said.

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