MOH warns of excessive issuance of MCs

Employers concerned medical certificates issued for non-medical reasons

MOH warns of excessive issuance of MCs

Medical practitioners in Singapore have been warned against issuing excessive medical certificates (MC) following feedback from employers and various agencies, according to reports.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) issued a guideline in late April reminding those issuing MCs to comply with the Singapore Medical Council Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines 2016 Edition, Channel News Asia reported. The code states that MCs must be issued to patients "only on proper medical grounds arrived at through good clinical assessment."

The circular was issued following feedback from employers and government agencies who are concerned of "excessive issuance" of MCs and their potential misuse, CNA reported.

"MCs were issued when patients mentioned that they had just wanted a certification to skip work or school, but they were not sick," the circular read, citing allegations from the feedback.

According to the feedback, MCs have been getting allegedly issued solely over patients' self-reported reasons for consultation, and without proper clinical assessments and follow-ups to ensure patients really need MCs.

Proposing stricter conditions               

To address the issue, the MOH is pooling feedback from doctors to amend the Healthcare Services Act to impose stricter conditions on providing MCs.

This includes requiring licensees to ensure that every MC issued has the name and MCR number of the practitioner issuing it.

In the meantime, the MOH said it is reviewing the feedback from employers and government agencies.

"[MOH] will take enforcement of regulatory action if any licensee is found to be in contravention of the Medical Registration Act, the Dental Registration Act or the Healthcare Services Act, regulations and/or licence conditions," the ministry told The Straits Times.

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