KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — Malaysia severely lacks neuropsychiatrists, amid a growing number of patients requiring their services, Dzulkefly Ahmad said today.
Bernama reported the health minister as saying there are only four neuropsychiatrists in the public sector — two in Kuala Lumpur, and one each in Penang and Johor.
“In addition, there will be three neuropsychiatric trainees who will qualify within three years.
“Efforts to increase the number of neuropsychiatric experts are going at a very slow pace, and the need for these experts is rapidly increasing,” he was quoted telling a press conference after launching the Neuropsychiatry Masterclass 2019 programme in Petaling Jaya today.
Neuropsychiatry comprises an overlap between psychiatry, neurology and general medicine.
Among neuropsychiatric problems Dzulkefly cited were emotional and hallucinatory symptoms caused by Parkinson’s disease, emotional problems caused by epilepsy, early dementia onset, and behavioural changes sparked by brain injury and infections.
Dzulkefly reportedly said Hospital Kuala Lumpur currently has 499 neuropsychiatric patients, with 363 patients getting treated by the first quarter of the year.
At least 1,500 patients are estimated to receive neuropsychiatric treatment at the public hospital until the end of the year.