MEDICALLY REVIEWED

MOH Circular On Issuing MCs: The correlation between MCs and Workplace Well-being?

Work Stress Mental Health MCs

With telemedicine on the rise, various employers and government agencies have raised concerns regarding the excessive issuing of medical certificates (MCs).

How does this discussion of MCs correlate with the well-being of employees in the workplace?

MOH Circular on MCs

In Singapore, outpatient medical services offer increased convenience by allowing patients to consult with healthcare professionals without the need for in-person visits. Most healthcare institutions, both public and private, now offer online consultation services. Through telemedicine services, individuals can access consultations, receive medical advice, and even obtain prescriptions from the comfort of their homes. 

As a result of these outpatient medical service consultations, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has received feedback from various employers and government agencies regarding the excessive issuance of medical certificates (MCs).

As telemedicine becomes more integrated into healthcare delivery, MOH recognises the need to establish clearer guidelines. On 22 April 2024, MOH released a circular emphasising the importance of ensuring that MCs are issued responsibly. The circular clarifies the circumstances under which healthcare professionals should issue MCs, particularly in cases where patients receive outpatient medical service via teleconsultations. It highlights the need for healthcare providers to assess each case individually and exercise clinical judgment to determine the necessity of issuing an MC based on the patient’s condition and medical needs. 

Consequences of Malpractice

MOH has emphasised that action will be taken against doctors and dentists found to be issuing MCs unprofessionally. This underscores the gravity of this issue and signals the government’s commitment to upholding standards of medical practice.

This will also prevent inaccuracies in patient records and unnecessary healthcare costs due to improper issuance of MCs during teleconsultations.

Workplace Well-being in Singapore

In Singapore, workplace well-being is increasingly recognised as a crucial factor in maintaining employees’ health and productivity. Issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Tripartite Advisory on Mental Well-Being at Workplaces emphasises the importance of fostering a supportive work environment that promotes mental wellness. 

Despite this emphasis on workplace well-being, employers may still struggle to foster this positive work environment. Additionally, employees may still experience negative consequences. Research conducted on employee well-being in Singapore workplaces highlights the detrimental effects of workplace stressors on employees’ health and job performance. 

Heavy workloads, prolonged working hours, and inadequate support systems are known contributors to heightened stress levels and diminished workplace well-being among employees. Neglecting mental and physical health in the workplace escalates the likelihood of falling ill. Employees grappling with significant stress and burnout are particularly vulnerable to various ailments, both physical and mental. Consequently, such challenges may prompt individuals to seek MCs more frequently. It will also decrease their productivity. It also raises the question of the duty of MCs to adequately cover such mental health problems.

Conclusion

In light of the advancement of telemedicine and its increase in integration into healthcare services, regulatory bodies and employers must prioritise employee well-being. This commitment is vital for cultivating a healthier and more productive workforce in Singapore’s ever-changing work environment. Safeguarding mental well-being through breaks and other measures is crucial for maintaining employee’s immunity. It will also enhance their productivity.

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