Will polyclinics refer me to a private psychiatric clinic or a government-based one?

Doctor's Answers (2)

Dr Beng Yeong Ng

"Psychiatrist with over 20 years of experience"

There are private psychiatrists practising at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Gleneagles Medical Centre, Novena Medical Centre and other private facilities. You can call up the clinic and arrange for an appointment to see the psychiatrist. 

If you decide to seek treatment from a private psychiatrist, then there is no strong need for you to get a referral letter from the polyclinic. However, if you have other medical problems and are taking medications for various medical problems, it will be good for your treating physician to write a note to the psychiatrist so that the psychiatrist can understand your medical problems better. There are potential drug-drug interactions and the psychiatrist can then avoid prescribing antidepressants that may interact with your existing medications.

You can also approach your general physician for a referral. Referrals from the general practitioners to the restructured hospitals are treated as private cases.

Yes, it is possible to seek treatment from the restructured hospital as a private patient. The advantage of going in as a private patient is that you can select the psychiatrist whom you want to consult. 

Great to hear that you have taken the first step in seeking help :) Here are some points that address your questions.

1. You can get a referral letter to see a psychiatrist from either a private GP, or the polyclinic.

2. Getting a referral letter from the polyclinic is the only way to get subsidised fees when seeing a psychiatrist within the goverment hospital.

3. Since you prefer to see a private psychiatrist, getting a referral letter from either a private GP or the polyclinic is fine. If you have a preferred psychiatrist you wish to see, you can mention this to the doctor writing your referral letter. Don't worry if you don't have a psychiatrist in mind - they will be able to recommend psychiatrists to you.

4. The polyclinic can refer you to see both a private psychiatrist, as well as a government-based one. Some polyclinics also offer psychology services and "talking therapy" by psychologists and other healthcare professionals. This team typically also comprises family physicians, nurses and medical social workers.

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