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Singapore Government

Waiting time for professional assessment of persons with disabilities

Waiting time for professional assessment of persons with disabilities

Question
Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef
Marine Parade GRC

To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development what are the current waiting times for children and adults with disabilities to get their assessments made by psychologists, speech therapists and other trained personnel. 

Answer

Madam, the waiting times to have a disability diagnosed or assessed depend on a number of factors, including the purpose of the assessment. As at October 2015, for pre-schoolers aged six years and below, who have developmental problems, the median wait time for an appointment for an initial assessment by a doctor at KKH and NUH is between 7 and 17 days. For children of schooling age, the corresponding median waiting time for an appointment at KKH, NUH and IMH is between 6 and 19 days. Compared to 2014, both figures have shown an improvement.

Some of the children need to be assessed for suitability for early intervention programmes. For example, the Development Support Programme (DSP) supports children with milder needs who are in mainstream pre-schools. The time taken for assessment for suitability for the DSP is below four weeks from the time of referral. The Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) serves pre-schoolers with more severe needs. The average time taken between referral and assessment for suitability was about three months in 2015. 

Students in our mainstream schools can be referred for assessment conducted by MOE psychologists. Such referrals are prioritised jointly between the school and the MOE psychologist based on the urgency and severity of the child’s needs. In 2015, the median time taken to complete a case assessment was about 2.5 months.

Adults with disabilities may also require assessments for suitability for a range of Government-funded programmes. The time taken from referral to assessment for day care services was around three months in 2015. For services, such as home-based care and drop-in services, the waiting time was between one and three months. 

After assessment, some of the children and adults may have to find a place to receive the appropriate service. MSF is working with VWOs and other Government agencies to further improve both the waiting times for assessment, as well as the time for subsequent placements into the most suitable services. We will continue to expand the capacity and improve the delivery of services for both children and adults with disabilities. We are also working on manpower initiatives, such as developing hubs that employ psychologists and therapists so that their services, which are needed for assessments and intervention, can be rendered more efficiently.

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