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05 Oct 2021

5th Oct 2021

NOTICE PAPER NO. 733 
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 4 OCTOBER 2021


Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Carrie Tan
MP for Nee Soon GRC


Question No. 1844


To ask the Minister for Health (a) what are the current protocols in place for the prescription of anti-depressants to patients under 25 years old by primary care doctors; and (b) in view of the co-relation between increased anti-depressant usage and youth suicide, whether the Ministry will consider reviewing the intervention pathway and protocols to enhance safeguards against the use of anti-depressants in youths and children too early or unnecessarily in their mental health recovery process.


Answer

       For children or adolescents seen in a primary care clinic with symptoms of depression, the polyclinic doctor or general practitioner (GP) will make a clinical assessment on the diagnosis and severity of the condition; subsequent recommendations for treatment or referral would be based on their clinical assessment. 

2.     Clinical practice guidelines, developed by the professional community and experts in practice exist to guide doctors on how to prescribe, taking into consideration the risks and benefits of treatment. The member may wish to refer to the MOH website for specific details.

3.    The Ministry of Health (MOH) or the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) will investigate if it receives complaints on inappropriate prescription for mental health services.