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“Our young and injured NSFs are not given the rest they require to recover” – Doctor warns MINDEF

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In a recent forum letter, medical doctor Dr Tan Soo Heong cautioned the Ministry of Defence that “our young and injured NSFs are not given the rest they require to recover.”

Noting that he gives appropriate medical leave to the NSFs with injuries he sees in his course of work, Dr Tan revealed that the injuries these NSFs suffer worsen when their medical leave is revoked in camp and these NSFs are forced to return to work:

“I have encountered cases where soldiers have had their medical leave revoked by their camp’s medical officer or commanders and were made to return to their duties. The medical condition of some of these patients were aggravated as a result of this.”

Referring to a recent report in which doctors were reminded to give appropriate medical leave to injured workers who need rest, Dr Tan said that the “duties that soldiers perform are no less hazardous nor any less strenuous than those undertaken by the workers,” as he asserted:

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“Like the injured workers, the key concern when the injured NSF is made to return to his duties is the risk of aggravating the injuries and reducing his chance of full recovery.”

Calling on MINDEF and the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) to look into the cases of NSFs who are not given enough rest to recover, Dr Tan noted that doctors may be violating the SMC’s Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines by revoking medical leave.

He urged: “Errant commanders should be reported to Mindef and errant doctors should be reported to the SMC.”

Read Dr Tan’s letter in full here.

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