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12 Jul 2019

12th Jul 2019

MOH's Reply

Guidelines in place for well-being of doctors


We refer to the letters from Mr Huang Da Tian and Ms He Yan Qin (超时工作问题亟待解决, 4 Jul; 共医院医生严重超时工作, 9 Jul).

We agree that doctors should work at a sustainable pace for them to perform optimally. This also reduces the likelihood of medical errors.

The Singapore Medical Council (SMC) already stipulates the total allowable work hours per week for house officers, including night call hours. The guidance includes rest periods between duty periods and an off day each week. There are similar guidelines in place for other doctors in training and for our other junior doctors in general, that stipulate work hours per week, durations on duty and off days.

In addition, there are structures and facilities in place in all our public hospitals for the welfare of healthcare staff, which include call rooms, rest areas and staff lounges. Doctors are not necessarily working continuously for 24 hours within an in-house duty stint, and if there is opportunity to rest, there are facilities they can use. Our public hospitals all have committees in place to oversee the welfare of their doctors.

While our public hospitals do take measures to ensure their doctors are not working excessive hours, the nature of healthcare means that there will be occasional periods where doctors do work over extended periods even at senior levels. We will continue to work with our public healthcare leadership to reduce the likelihood of unsustainable work hours.

Adjunct Associate Professor Mabel Yap
Director, Professional Training and Assessment Standards Division
Ministry of Health



Forum Letter

Lianhe Zaobao, 9 Jul 2019

公共医院医生严重超时工作
赫彦芹

在7月4日的《联合早报交流站》读到黄达天君的《超时工作问题亟待解决》,我深有同感。

我女儿是一名医生。她还没有投入医务工作时,我们已有医生工作辛苦、时间长的思想准备,但是没有想到的是,我国公共医院的医生加班时间,完全超出一个人所能承受的范围。正如黄君所反映的,我女儿一个星期夜班一次,有时两次,这种夜班从早上六七点一直工作到隔天下午,算下来30多个小时没有休息。

一个人30多小时不睡觉,对身体的伤害何其大。在极度超负荷的情况下,头脑反应肯定不清,对病人的病情诊治也是一种危险。就不知道医院的管理层是否意识到可能出现的后果。这种过度超时的轮班制,对医生、对病人都是不公平的。期盼有关部门即刻重视这种情况,督促公共医院早日改善这种不人性化的超时工作问题。



Forum Letter

Lianhe Zaobao, 4 Jul 2019

超时工作问题亟待解决
黄达天

据报道,一项国际调查显示,本地中学教师每周平均工作46个小时,在48个国家及地区当中排第七。同五年前相比,本地中学教师的工作时间已缩短两个小时。这主要是因为教育部几年前大刀阔斧改革的效果。

我女儿在公共医院工作,一个星期至少轮班一次,偶尔两次,一次轮班短则25个小时,最长可达30个小时,一周工作五天半,到底超时多少个小时?同有年中及年终假期的教师相比,医院的超时工作现象似乎更令人担心,而且这现象显然没受到社会关注,也不怎么看到有关部门提出改善。

人总希望争取更好的生活素质,如果长期要求社会上某种服务行业的人做出牺牲,而不去设法改善那个行业,就有欠公平了。科技发达已彻底改变现在的工作方式。以前那种朝九晚五,下班可以放下一切回家享受天伦,或者约会看电影的情景不再。下了班,手机短信、电子邮件不间断是常态;休假出国旅行却要每天回复工作相关电邮的人也不在少数。有个医生朋友刚轮完25个小时的班回到家,还没来得及洗澡,就有几百个短信等他复电。像这种人不在工作场所却依然“办公”的情况,算不算超时工作呢?

要改变这种畸形的超时工作,和无时无刻都处于工作状态的风气实在很难。所谓己所不欲勿施于人,奉劝那些喜欢在工作时间以外,还不断发短信及电邮给同事的人,要以同理心相待,尽量为别人着想,尽量让别人在休息时间真正放松心情。相关部门在探讨提高工作効率之余,也别抹杀员工工作及休息平衡的福利。




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