SAF medical officers don't revoke MCs from external doctors: Ng Eng Hen

Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen. (FILE PHOTO: Reuters/Edgar Su)

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Monday (19 November) refuted a claim that Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) medical officers revoke medical certificates (MCs) issued by external practitioners.

He was responding in writing to a parliamentary question from Member of Parliament Muhammad Faisal Abdul Manap. The Aljunied GRC MP asked about the number of MCs from private general practitioners which have been revoked by SAF medical officers in the last three years, as well as the main reasons behind such revocations.

Forum letter from doctor

The question came after a forum letter on The Straits Times in October, in which a doctor claimed that he had encountered cases where injured full-time national servicemen (NSF) were given medical leave by doctors outside of the in-camp medical centre, only to have the medical leave revoked.

The soldiers were then made to return to their duties, which aggravated the injuries sustained by them. The doctor suggested that that errant commanders and doctors should be reported to Mindef and the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) respectively.

Clinical review and amendment to MCs

In his written response, Ng said, “Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) medical officers do not revoke medical certificates (MCs) issued by external medical practitioners. Unit medical officers may, however, conduct a clinical review of the SAF personnel’s medical condition and propose an amendment to the MC.

“To effect such an amendment, the medical officer either discusses the case with the medical practitioner who issued the original MC, or refers the SAF personnel to a relevant specialist who can advise on the proposed amendment.

“An amendment could include an adjustment to the duration of the MC, or exemption from specific activities. Personnel may at any point see the unit medical officer for a further clinical review.”

He added that instances of amendments to MCs are “infrequent in the SAF”.

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