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Offer financial help to private family doctors who contract Covid-19 in line of duty

Every day, many private family doctors — especially those on the Public Health Preparedness Clinic scheme, a network of clinics providing subsidised treatment and medication in public health outbreaks — are seeing patients with fever.

Private family doctors who contract Covid-19 can no longer see patients in their clinics and may hence take a large financial hit, says the writer.

Private family doctors who contract Covid-19 can no longer see patients in their clinics and may hence take a large financial hit, says the writer.

Desmond Wai Chun Tao

Every day, many private family doctors — especially those on the Public Health Preparedness Clinic scheme, a network of clinics providing subsidised treatment and medication in public health outbreaks — are seeing patients with fever.

Some also perform nasopharyngeal swabs for Covid-19 in their clinics or dormitories housing migrant workers.

Family doctors put their health at risk in the fight against the coronavirus.

Some private doctors are also lending a hand at the community isolation facility at the Singapore Expo.

But unlike family doctors and emergency physicians employed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the restructured hospitals, private family doctors take a huge financial risk in fighting Covid-19.

If doctors from polyclinics or restructured hospitals contract Covid-19, they will be admitted to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases or any hospital for two or three weeks on average. During hospitalisation and the post-discharge period, they will continue to receive their salary from MOH or the restructured hospitals.

But if private family doctors come down with Covid-19, they can no longer see patients in their clinics.

During hospitalisation and the time spent recuperating post-discharge, they may not receive an income. Moreover, they have to continue paying for clinic overheads, such as rent, utilities and the salaries of staff members.

It is time the Government draw up assistance plans for private family doctors, should they be infected with Covid-19 in the course of their work.

The heroism and courage of private family doctors should be recognised in the form of special financial help if they fall sick in the line of duty.

ABOUT THE WRITER:

Dr Desmond Wai Chun Tao is a gastroenterologist and hepatologist in private practice.

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

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GP clinic doctor Covid-19 coronavirus MOH

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