Complaints about Mental Health Professionals from LGBTQ+ Clients

Anthea Indira Ong
3 min readMay 5, 2020

Parliamentary Question, 5 May 2020

Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Health (a) whether the Ministry has received any complaints about psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors from their LGBTQ clients and, if so, what are the complaints; (b) what are the complaint mechanisms available to their LGBTQ clients; and © how are errant individuals reported by their LGBTQ clients sanctioned or punished.

Mr Gan Kim Yong: The Ministry of Health (MOH) has not received any complaints against psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors from self-declared LGBTQ patients in the past three years.

MOH and our healthcare institutions have systems in place to handle feedback or complaints against psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors. Patients may also seek assistance from the Singapore Mediation Centre for complaints against psychologists and counsellors or lodge a complaint against psychiatrists with the Singapore Medical Council.

Psychiatrists are regulated under the Medical Registration Act which sets out the disciplinary processes and the set-up of disciplinary bodies, namely the independent Complaints Committees and Disciplinary Tribunals. The Complaints Committee will review each complaint and decide on one of the following actions: (a) dismiss the complaint, (b) issue a Letter of Advice, © issue a Letter of Warning, (d) refer the doctor to the Disciplinary Tribunal or the Health Committee for a formal inquiry. The Disciplinary Tribunal has the power to remove the doctor from the register, suspend the practicing license for a certain period of time or impose a fine of up to $100,000.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)

The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and climate change in Parliament.

She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).

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