Only 233 Psychiatrists in Malaysia
The Star, Monday November 8, 2010
Only 233 psychiatrists to treat 28 million Malaysians
By IVAN LOH
IPOH: Malaysia is running short of psychiatrists. Health Ministry technical adviser on psychiatry Datuk Dr Suaran Singh Jasmit Singh said the country only has 233 psychiatrists to treat the population, which works out to a ratio of 0.8:100,000.
“The ideal ratio is 1:50,000,” he said after the opening of a public forum on handling stress at Ipoh City Hall yesterday.
Dr Suaran, who is Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta director, said of the 233 psychiatrists available, 15 were attached with the Health Ministry and three with the Defence Ministry.
He added that there were 22 psychiatrists in Perak.
“Their number is just enough to cope with the workload,” he said, reiterating the need for more psychiatrists.
Dr Suaran, however, said that more people were willing to take up psychiatry, which was quite a new medical discipline in Malaysia.
“The ministry is working to increase the number of psychiatrists in the country,” he added.
He noted that the country also had 55 private psychiatrists, but almost 45% of them were based in the Klang Valley.
On the public forum, Dr Suaran said it was organised in conjunction with Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta’s 100th anniversary to educate the public on coping with stress.
Perak executive council member Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, who opened the forum, said mental illness must be treated.
“People with such illnesses need help and there are a lot of new treatments available,” he said, adding that psychiatric patients also required good care and support from their family members.