Mental Healthcare Spend versus Diabetes and Ageing

Anthea Indira Ong
3 min readNov 14, 2019


Parliamentary Question, May 2019

Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Health for 2018 (actual) and 2019 (budgeted), what is the percentage of spend on (i) mental health versus total healthcare spend (ii) diabetes versus total healthcare spend and (iii) ageing versus total healthcare spend.

Mr Gan Kim Yong: Based on the latest available expenditure data, MOH’s operating expenditure for financial year 2017 was $8.7 billion, of which about 3%, 11% and 6% were spent on mental health, diabetes mellitus and aged care respectively.

MOH’s expenditure on mental health comprises operating subvention to Institute of Mental Health, psychiatry units in other Public Healthcare Institutions and intermediate & long-term care facilities to provide subsidised patient care, as well as funding for various programmes under the National Mental Health Blueprint and Community Mental Health Masterplan. The figures do not include Government’s funding for other mental health initiatives such as school allied educators to provide students with counselling and related support.

MOH’s expenditure on diabetes mellitus comprises operating subvention to public healthcare institutions and participating CHAS clinics to provide subsidised care to patients with diabetes as well as health promotion activities under the War on Diabetes.

MOH’s expenditure on ageing comprises operating subvention to long-term care and social aged care facilities to provide patient subsidies for residential, day care and home care services. It does not include government funding on other ageing initiatives or subsidies provided to the Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation which are separately catered for under the Pioneer Generation Fund and Merdeka Generation Fund respectively.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~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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