In its editorial of Saturday, 13 July 2013, the Straits Times says “collusion between doctors and employers is conduct simply too callous to go unpunished.” It was addressing the issue of insufficient medical leave given by some doctors in private practice to injured workers, as covered by the newspaper in a news story last Sunday.

Mentioning TWC2’s survey results (link), which found that 42 of 150 (rounded up from the actual figure of 148) got less than 4 days of medical leave when first seen by a private practitioner, the editorial minced no words when it pointed to ulterior motives:

Why do these medical practitioners so flagrantly flout professional ethics? If it is for the ready patient load a corporate contract often brings, they should hand their heads in shame. Employers who egg on such doctors might do so to avoid making required accident reports to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and perhaps to dodge paying injured employees who are unable to perform.

Further down, it said,

If physically unfit for work, workers should not have to struggle and suffer in silence at work until excruciating pain forces them to visit a public hospital where only then does their plight come to light.

It also highlighted that attention must be given to “power asymmetries in employee-employer relations”. The authorities must take into account, it wrote,

 . . . foreign workers’ reluctance to demand that their bosses do the right thing, for fear of contract non-renewal or other consequences.

John Gee, TWC2 immediate past president described the editorial as “quite strongly worded”.