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07 Nov 2022

26th Feb 2019

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament 

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang
MP for Nee Soon GRC

Question No. 2680 

To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider issuing guidelines on disability duration for specific injuries for the use of doctors issuing medical leave and light duties for injured workers returning to work. 

Oral Reply

1     In assessing the need for a medical certificate and its duration, both medical conditions and non medical circumstances need to be considered. These include the type and severity of the medical condition or injury; time needed for the treatment, rehabilitation and recovery; and work requirements and workplace conditions. The circumstances vary widely among different persons, making it difficult to come up with prescriptive guidelines. 

2     The attending doctor should use his or her professional judgement, and when in doubt, consult fellow peers on what is needed to help the patient recover from a medical condition or injury. 

3    To guide this, the SMC revised the Ethical Code which came into effect in 2017. This provides broad guidelines that medical certificates must be issued to patients on proper medical grounds arrived at through good clinical assessment, and doctors must not take into consideration extraneous factors such as who pays for the consultation, what benefits the patients may receive or what employers’ preferences may be. Also, when certifying that patients are fit to return to work but with limitations on their level of activity at work, doctors must first ensure that the patients’ work conditions allow this and, to the best of their ability, ensure that appropriate light duties are in fact available to the patients at their place of work. 

4     MOH will study if it is necessary to formulate specific guidance in particular settings and seek inputs from the professional bodies.

Category: Parliamentary QA