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HomehealthWorkers seek more understanding from bosses on telemedicine MCs

Workers seek more understanding from bosses on telemedicine MCs


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Workers seek more understanding from bosses on telemedicine MCs

SINGAPORE: Last week, the Ministry of Health announced tighter rules involving the issuance of medical certificates, especially in cases of teleconsultation, after feedback concerning that some MCs had been given out excessively or improperly.

The issue is proving to be somewhat of a sticky one, with both employers and employees weighing in.

In a May 17 letter to The Straits Times forum, she noted the lack of need for an in-person clinic visit with the prevalence of telemedicine apps today, asking how a doctor could determine a patient needed two days off from work merely based on a teleconsult.

Since then, others have written to ST as well. On May 21, Mr Kinsey Yiu asked that people who pretend to be ill just to get out of work be an exception.

The majority who feel unwell and primarily need rest but not necessarily additional medical treatment “should not be lumped with the proverbial black sheep.”

He pointed out that when employees are sick, they can still go to work but risk putting their colleagues at risk of infection. Another option is for them to see a doctor for what often ends up being a five-minute consult.

He added that this would further strain the medical system. Alternatively, they can stay home and rest.

Read related: Improper, excessive issuance of MCs by doctors causes MOH to tighten rules

Mr Yiu also stated that another option is already being used by the Public Service Division and some private firms: an honour-based sick leave scheme in which employees are given a certain number of days on which they are allowed to absent themselves and do not need to present an MC to their employers.

Bosses, he said, should not jump to the conclusion that workers are faking illness when they go for tele-consults, although he understands that the situation can be frustrating.

On May 20, meanwhile, Ryan Loke Rui Heng wrote to the ST Forum suggesting that quotas can be set for people who apply for sick leaves via tele-consult.

While he too acknowledged the validity of employers’ concerns, he added that tele-consults are useful in that they help employees save time and money, plus curb the potential spread of infections.

Mr Loke suggested a “middle ground” wherein limits would be placed on the number of tele-consults a person can avail of, say one a month.

This way, people who genuinely fall ill retain the option, but those who wish to take advantage of the situation by teleconsulting more frequently would not be allowed to do so but would be required to have an in-person doctor’s appointment, which would curb potential abuse.

In the same vein, a clinical governance officer of an online consultation provider also weighed in with a letter published on the ST Forum.

Dr David Ang Kai Kok argued that a comprehensive approach should be taken to tackle excessive MCs.

Dr Ang wrote that engaging with employees would help uncover if there are other factors at play, such as problems at home, that contribute to an employee’s stress and could cause them to fall ill.

“If these issues could be highlighted and communicated to the doctors, it would help greatly in engaging these employees as well,” he added. /TISG

Read also: Employer draws flak for flagging workers getting telemedicine MCs as potential abuse

The post Workers seek more understanding from bosses on telemedicine MCs appeared first on The Independent Singapore News - Latest Breaking News


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