ABUSE OF MEDICAL LEAVE: 'Lax' doctors would be investigated and their clinics raidedGEORGE TOWN: EMPLOYERS can lodge a report with the Malaysian Medical Council on doctors who issue medical certificates (MCs) too easily without proper examination.
Malaysian Medical Association president Dr S.R. Manalan said if there was a valid complaint, an investigation could be conducted and the clinic could be raided.
"MCs should only be issued after a medical examination.
"The council will investigate and if proven guilty, the doctor can either be let off with a warning or face suspension."
Dr Manalan was responding to a query on recent reports of doctors who issued MCs without medical examinations and workers who abused their sick leave privileges by feigning illness to obtain MCs.
Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan had said that based on a recent survey, on the average, each employee took about nine days per year of medical leave, or up to four per cent of working time.
He had said the system was too lax and because doctors wanted to build a good relationship with their patients, some were too easy on the MCs.
Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah had first broached MCs when he said the initial purpose of medical leave was being abused, with doctors selling MCs to those who were not sick.
Dr Manalan said many factors had to be considered before an MC was issued.
"For example, a driver cannot drive if he has an injured leg, but a receptionist with a similar problem would still be able to do her job and answer calls."
He said employees who sought treatment at clinics often complained of diarrhoea, headaches or backaches -- ailment that was difficult to determine unless a thorough examination was done. In such cases, he said the companies should refer their staff for a medical check-up.
"The welfare of the workers is the responsibility of the employer. But if employees fake their illnesses, a check-up would scare them and this can cut down on the medical leave they take."
On the other hand, University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) consultant psychiatric associate professor Dr Jesjeet Singh Gill said if an employee took a great number of days for medical leave there could be an underlying problem.
"They could be suffering from anxiety attacks, under stress, or going through depression.
"There could be a number of reasons. Employers should first send their staff for a full medical check-up and when medical reasons are eliminated, they should consider counselling."
With the cost of absenteeism at about RM100 per day and the additional costs of replacing absent workers, the total loss due to sick leave stands about RM9 billion, or one per cent of Malaysia's gross domestic product of RM850 billion.
Cuepacs president Datuk Omar Osman urged heads of government departments to probe cases of civil servants abusing their sick leave.
He said civil servants should be mindful of their action so as not to undermine the integrity of the public sector.
Read more: Tackling easy MCs - General - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/tackling-easy-mcs-1.191329?open=true#commentsForm-263167#ixzz2GEXi5oyD
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