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.