Singapore To Add Restrictions On MCs Following Complaints From Employers

There have been allegations of too many MCs being handed out to folks who just want a day off, even when they're not really sick.

Cover image via KK Women's and Children's Hospital

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Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) is looking to propose stricter rules for issuing medical certificates (MCs) following complaints from employers and government agencies about the alleged abuse of MCs

CNA reported on a joint circular from the MOH and the Singapore Medical Council, which stated that there have been complaints about doctors handing out too many MCs, especially after teleconsultations.

Some doctors were allegedly issuing MCs based solely on what patients told them, or even to patients who admitted they weren't sick but wanted a day off from work, reported the news channel.

Employers also alleged that the doctors did not conduct proper clinical assessments and follow-ups to determine if there were any underlying medical conditions that warranted MCs, the report added.

Doctors were also accused of repeatedly issuing MCs to the same patients, without ever having them come in for a proper check-up, with the authorities calling it an abuse of medical leave privileges.

It was also alleged that some telemedicine consultation platforms don't require video calls, raising concerns about the adequacy of checkups

In February this year, Singapore's MOH investigated a clinic for issuing MCs via text-based questionnaires on their telemedicine platform, with no video or audio consultation, according to a statement by the ministry.

The clinic's website even advertised a "get an MC or get a refund" guarantee.

Image via CNA

In response, the circular stated that teleconsultation services by registered practitioners have been regulated since 26 June last year

In addition, the ministry wants to make it mandatory for doctors to include their name and medical council registration number on every MC they issue to increase their accountability.

The joint circular also stated that "MCs should not be issued via teleconsultations to new patients solely based on the patients' requests without proper assessment by a medical practitioner".

Those who breach the regulations may have their licences suspended, shortened, or revoked.

According to the circular, doctors who wish to provide feedback on the new requirement can email the ministry at [email protected] by 20 May 2024.

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