Don’t blame doctors only – Medical Practitioner on issuing of sick leave

Dr. Emanuel said employers and employees should also be blamed
Dr. Emanuel said employers and employees should also be blamed

At least one medical practitioner has stood in defense of his colleagues on the matter of the alleged rampant issuing of sick leave on the island, arguing that doctors are not the only ones to be blamed.

Dr. Victor Emanuel told Dominica News Online that fingers should also be pointed at employers and employees.

His remarks came in light of statements by the Executive Director of the Dominica Employers Federation (DEF) Achille Joseph, that there are about four medical doctors who are responsible for 50 percent of sick leave given in the country. He stated this could have strong implications on the Dominica Social Security Scheme and if something is not done about it and fast, it could be brought to its knees.

“The blame has to go all around, you cannot give blame to any one group,” Dr. Emanuel said. “Of course it should be a problem from the medical standpoint, and from the Social Security and the implications for them and for all of us as a result of that.”

He said it is public knowledge that some employees have a bad attitude towards work and some employers do not make the environment conducive to work.

He noted that it is up to employers to figure what can be done to improve the work environment.

In terms of improving the work environment, some of the questions posed by Dr. Emanuel include: “What is it about the work environment that needs to be improved? Are there occupational hazards? Are they making life a living hell and stressing them out unnecessarily? What can the employer do to make employees wake up every morning and say it’s a joy to go to work?”

He admitted that some doctors have been at fault and they have practiced unethically by issuing sick leave when they are not necessary or required.

Dr. Emanuel said these doctors were known four years ago when discussions were held with the DEF.

“But we don’t know who they are this time around,” he said.

He is of the opinion that a collaborative effort is needed to tackle this entire matter.

“So it’s everybody and we need to sit down and try to figure out on some measure of addressing it to everybody’s satisfaction,” he said. “So it’s a change of attitude for employers, employees, doctors…”

He is also suggesting that all companies have their own private doctors that they trust and can depend on.

When questioned about whether Dominicans are getting sicker, Dr. Emanuel dismissed the idea saying that sick leave is given by doctors based on assessment.

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  1. N George.
    January 22, 2015

    The doc is raising some good points there, both the employer and employee should be given blame! Some employer’s, (not saying all) are aware of the bad working conditions inwhich their worker’s work in; yet they don’t provide the necessties. So yes! Some people places health and safety high on their list. Hences, a healthy workforce equals production.

  2. Ms. Educator
    January 22, 2015

    I’ve heard Achille Joseph running his mouth about medicals.

    I challenging him and all those other employers that complaining about the large amount of medicals doctors write to confront those 4 doctors in an open forum.

    Innuendos and sly remarks just don’t cut it with me. Call the doctors by name, present each and every one of the sick leave forms you all suspect that is bogus and confront them.

    If Achille Joseph cannot do that I suggest he shut up.

    Because unless STRESS is recognised as a disease world-wide and in Dominica by extension, the deluge of medicals is not going to stop.

    People are tired, worn-down, stressed out with pittance pay in Dominica….on top of that you have employers and supervisors bull-ragging you for a miserable $600 monthly? STUPES!

  3. January 22, 2015

    Doc, you are very right. With the present economic situation, apart from workers suffering from medical issues related to communicable diseases like the chikungunya outbreak in 2014, many workers are getting “sick and fed-up” with their employers.
    Mr. Joseph himself should stop talking this crap, pretending to be concerned about Social Security going bankrupt. Mr. Joseph knows very well that what will sink the Dominica Social Security (DSS) is its reckless investment in Marpin 2K4, and not the sick workers who keep pumping money into the DSS on a weekly. fortnightly and monthly basis. Let us get real people! If the DSS would get rid of that Monster black hole Marpin2K4, there will be no complain about paying people their own monies when they get sick.

  4. The Facts
    January 21, 2015

    You stated it well, Doc. I can tell you there are some nice bosses and some bad ones. The latter can cause employees to take sick leave without quitting their jobs. When employees get fed-up they seek employment elsewhere. Alas, today in this technological age, suitable jobs are not so easy to find. Employees will simply take sick leave if they are entitled to it.
    Some employees may be unhappy at work. Employers should discuss the matter of sick leave with them. If they are unionized, the government/employer in turn should have a discussion with them.
    There are many jokes about the work force and bosses which co-workers circulate to their co-workers. They produce a good laugh. One of the jokes I was given has a picture of a woman with her head on the desk and her arms outstretched which states, “O God I hate this place!”
    How do employees feel about their employers and work environment and why they find it necessary to take sick leave? This will have to be discussed.

    • playboy
      January 23, 2015

      Just to pick up on the second line of your comment, people do not “take” sick leave, it is “given” to them by a doctor. He or she may use poor judgement in giving it or may practice unethical or unprofessional behavior in doing so, but again it cannot be “taken”, it is “given.”

  5. chicken gone ye
    January 21, 2015

    who to blame ,my granny,what a joke,no sick note without a doctors ok and dont blame the doctor,bwoi i dotish and i will stay so

  6. January 21, 2015

    “What can the employer do to make employees wake up every morning and say it’s a joy to go to work?” News article

    My goodness! Doc, I do not for the rest of us, but for me, your idea above is like telling a person to go search for a needle in the haystack–that is what you are suggesting pertaining to Employer and Employee.

    And in that case, it is not a good suggestion, because it has a great influence on the minds of the “employee/employees” who are already abusing the “sick leave permit” from doctors

    I agree that the situation between employee and employers can be downright sickening. However the huge part of the problem is on the side of the doctors, who simply write the permit, without taking consideration of whether their patient is or was actually sick; that person may simply be searching for a “day’s pay” without working. In other words, the employee being “sick” should be the Doc’s only concern–the rest belong with the employee and his/her employer

    • January 21, 2015

      “It’s a joy to go to work” –is an idea which could never transpire; for man continue to be offspring of Adam and is still living the “curse of God to him”, when He said to Adam at Genesis 17-19

      “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground.”

      So what is my point? There we are today, complaining about this thing, that thing, and the other thing of work. But we do not know how much our ancestors toiled for survival.

      Today, by God’s Love in Jesus Christ, and through our call to Him, we can become abound in His mercy and compassion. We have next to no suffering, as we were cursed for that suffering through Adam. If only we could stop, look, and listen, to become aware of God’s Love in our lives! That is the joy which we need–all of us!

  7. Onlooker
    January 21, 2015

    Well said Doc. Its amazing that the route of the problem is not being established by the DEF but instead, each year they look for the “4 Doctors” and blame them for doing their job as they see fit. All Doctors are aware of this annual report and do you really think that they give sick leave to employees so that they can appear on that list to be exposed and lynched?

  8. playboy
    January 21, 2015

    Doc has presented a balanced view of the situation in this article. Surely I don’t get the impression that he’s condoning the reprehensible practice of the four doctors Achille Joseph has spoken about who have issued more than 50% of all sick days given by doctors in Dominica for the past year.

    To even imagine that one doctor alone can give the equivalent of 23 years sick days in one year is really stretching a joke.

    Joseph describes such a doctor, and the others, as crooks. I think they are just that and a disgrace to their profession. But it’s all about attracting patients for money, isn’t it? The mighty dollar. I tell you.

  9. Ahms
    January 21, 2015

    Well said doc. Issue is with the working condition as well as health issues in general. It is Not about who is issuing but why. We have seen outbreak of communicable diseases almost every year in last 7-8 years i.e. Infleunza H3N2 in 2007, Norovirus in 2008, Pandemic influenza H1N1 in 2009, leptospirosis 2010-11, dengue in 2013 and chikungunya in 2014 to mention few. Every year we get fair share of flu virus from the North. These are some of the disease occurrences that may have little or no case-fatality, however it has huge economic impact (direct and indirect) that we tend to ignore very often. In every situation, Ministry of Health has done admirable job bringing the situation under control given limited staff and resources. Most of the staffs are over burdened with relentless work. Hence, we need to address these issues in much broader context, instead of just pointing to our doctors. It is time for PM to pay attention to the Ministry of Health with policy and resources.

  10. concerned
    January 21, 2015

    Positive DOC…. I fully agree with you

  11. Hmm
    January 21, 2015

    He spoke right. Are employers doing enough to make the work environment conducive to work for people to wake up every morning its a joy to go to work. I have heard of stories where some employers make it a living hell for their employees, looking down on them and bossing them around with nasty attitudes. I am thankful i don’t have this type of environment at work but i feel for the others suffering.

    • sherjmd
      January 21, 2015

      Some patients come in with swollen feet from standing all day, headache from looking at a screen all day, and back ache from sitting all day, along with their other Medical issues or emergencies they came in for, what are doctors suppose to do when they know their patients need rest in order to recover and easily comply with the treatment they need to continue to work. Four medical doctors alone giving sick leave maybe because these are the ones working in the emergency department where those debilitated sick patients come for treatment.

  12. uk dominican
    January 21, 2015

    Why are they issuing sick notes willy nilly as they are, it is wrong to do that. If you have an issue take it up with your union not deny other people the rights to work or social security. Let us work collectively. It is amazine that you do these things in DA but as soon as they go abroad they abide by that country’s rules, and this apply to each and all.

  13. Anon
    January 21, 2015

    Thank you Doc. I am not a Doc but I know that Sick PEOPLE cannot work.

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