Sunday Times, October 9, 2011, had a full-page feature about an issue that TWC2 has also noticed to be increasing in frequency — doctors in private practice giving workers who have been injured in workplace accidents just two day’s medical leave. The newspaper story headlined ‘Lost part of finger, 2 days’ MC’ begins with Wang Qingli’s story about how, despite having part of a finger amputated, he was told go back back to work after two days.  The doctor prescribed ‘light duty’ for a subsequent 20 days, but as Wang told the newspaper, “There’s no such thing as ‘light duty’ in construction work. . .  Either you work or you don’t work.”

Typically in such cases, after seeking a second opinion from public hospitals, the men are given longer medical leave. The newspaper suggests that one explanation for the behaviour of private doctors is to accommodate employers’ desire to avoid having to report the case, which they must do if the injury warrants more than two days’ medical leave. Private hospitals have contractual arrangements with employers for the latter’s employees.

Jolovan Wham, executive director HOME has filed eight reports against six doctors with the Singapore Medical Council, the Sunday Times said.

Source:  Sunday Times, October 9, 2011: Lost part of finger, 2 days’ MC, by Tan Hui Yee (archived copy).