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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Qatar launches sick leave monitoring system with private doctors

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A new online system for monitoring sick leave and issuing certificates has been launched by Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health (SCH), which is working to tackle fraud and improve tracking of illnesses.

The Central Government Electronic Sick Leave System, known as E-Jaza, is being piloted with doctors working in the private sector who are using the new system alongside existing paper-based methods.

From Dec. 30, it will become mandatory for all private doctors in Qatar to use only the new system when issuing sick leave certificates, the SCH said in a circular issued by the Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners (QCHP).

These certificates are required by some employers and schools here to prove that residents who take leave are indeed sick.

At the moment, doctors working in the state sector are not included in the new program.

Fraud

Because the e-sick leave system is linked to a national database, doctors would ideally be deterred from issuing fake certificates or signing off patients for longer than needed.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The database would, for example, make it possible for healthcare professionals to see if a patient has requested a sick leave certificate from another colleague.

Under the manual system, one doctor would have no way of knowing if another doctor had already signed off a patient as being ill.

Acting CEO of QCHP, Dr. Jamal Rashid Al Khanji, told the Peninsula:

“The idea behind the electronic system is to unify and standardize sick leave certificates in the country and eliminate fake certificates. There have been numerous complaints from employers about misuse of sick leave by their staff through fraudulent medical certificates issued by some doctors.”

The system would also help authorities to more accurately track patterns of illness in the country, and would show the number of certificates issued by each doctor.

Finally, it would highlight patients who apply for a higher-than-average amount of sick leave, Al Khanji said. He did not specify what would constitute this number, though.

The new system would also prevent doctors from approving leave for patients with illnesses which are outside their scope of expertise. Eventually, patients and employers would be able to receive sick leave certificates by email, Al Khanji added.

The law

A worker’s right to sick leave is covered under Qatar’s Labor Law No 14 of 2004.

Under Article 82, employees who have worked for a company for at least three months can apply for sick leave.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Illness of up to two weeks should be covered with full pay, while a worker can have a further four weeks of sick leave on half-pay.

For more than six weeks, an employer is required to grant the worker leave but on an unpaid basis. An employee who is medically deemed unfit to return to work after 12 weeks may have his contract terminated.

In another attempt to tighten regulations surrounding doctors, the SCH has reminded physicians that they are not allowed to accept gifts other than samples from medical reps of pharmaceutical companies.

Doctors found breaking the rule face penalties, including an official warning and the suspension of their practicing license, the Qatar Tribune reports from local Arabic daily Al Raya.

School certificates

Meanwhile, last month, the Supreme Council for Education (SEC) ruled that pupils, teachers and admin staff in independent (state-run) schools could only get sick notes issued by doctors working for Hamad Medical Corp., public hospitals and primary health care centers, the Peninsula reported.

The move to ban notes from private doctors was an attempt to tackle reports of false certificates, which affect schools’ performance, the newspaper added.

The SCH has previously tried to take action against rogue doctors. In 2011, the medical authority blacklisted several licensed private doctors for issuing fake sick leave certificates to students and government employees.

They were permanently banned from working in Qatar and the licenses of the clinics where they employed were revoked by the SCH Permanent Licensing Committee.

Thoughts?

14 COMMENTS

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Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago

I was tired of faking the flue anyway

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

In the place where I used to work (government institution), you don’t have to be sick to stay at home. If you do not feel like coming, you do not come. Most departments were overstaffed (thanks to Qatarization and how it was applied by the Chief HR) so even your manager won’t care whether you come or not, and work anyway would be done by another person. That obviously, if ever there is work at all. There were weeks where the amount of work to be delivered for the whole week could be done in 2 hours by one employee.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Where did you work? Sounds like a great place for an extended holiday.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

It is indeed 🙂
But to be honest, this was not the case of every department. Some people had work to do and some managers were a bit more strict with the repeated absences of their employees. I was lucky though to be part of the department where the manager didn’t care and where the workload was very limited.

I am not a slave, I got pride
I am not a slave, I got pride
6 years ago

This is already implemented in HH Emir Father private office in another form. If you take a day off you have to present medical certificate, else you loose 3 days salary. To save that qar400 you can consult a doctor pay qar500 and get a certificate since no medical insurance provided by that organization for many people working there for Emir in visit visa. Funny huh?

Restie
Restie
6 years ago

What if you have the man flu? It’s a real condition that requires recognition!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/mens-health/10536083/Man-flu-the-truth-that-women-dont-want-to-hear.html

Guest99
Guest99
6 years ago

Well… good idea if you look from employer’s side… not so if you look from a sick employee’s side!!!
There may be people who produce fake certificates, but from my experience this will add the misery of the sick person.
Last time I had viral fever, I took paracetamol early morning, dragged myself out of bed in the morning, went to the health center, waited in the queue for almost an hour, met the Doctor, who found that my fever was not high enough at that moment to write a sick leave! So I went to work only to burn high fever after 2 hours and to be sent back home by nurse at work.
Another time with sciatica, again Doctor refused to write a sick leave at health center, but the private clinic Doctor who had my case history, was kind enough to give a day off.
The problem is to get a sick leave from public hospital you need to present yourself during the morning hours, and should show some measurable symptoms to get sick leave. So I feel it’s much easier to go to work, than to go through the hassles of getting a sick leave!

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest99

Never in my life had the doctor asking me where do you work at, before denying sick leave, but here in Doha. It seems that they have instructions to deny sick leave for XYZ employees, regardless their condition. Their logic is ( if you made it to the clinic, then you can make it to work ), furthermore, some doctors will have the assisting nurse to follow you to the pharmacy to ensure that you bought the medicine before providing a sick leave…..Pathetic, I know…but unfortunately true !!!

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  DJ25Q

you’re right, to abuse the system is unethical, but also these doctors are unethical when they doubt about the fact you’re sick. If they were really good doctors they would recognize right away the difference between real sick and pretending to be sick.

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest99

Measurable symptoms like death?

Guest99
Guest99
6 years ago
Reply to  sicti

Haa haa…!!! Point is – the purpose of the sick leave is that we can get some rest peacefully at home, not spend 3 hours at clinic just to get the sick report, suppose you have fever – flu and you went to clinic in the evening got medications, but for sick certificate you must visit them again early morning !!! And if you manage to get a sick leave, you have already spent half of your working day in the routine, If you don’t get better next day repeat the procedure again, as they won’t give you more than one day at a time !

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest99

It would be too difficult to trust your employees to act like adults and self regulate sick leave days. Better to treat them like kids.

dubious
dubious
6 years ago

Shouldn’t this be handled between you and your employer?

Is doctor-patient confidentiality even a thing here?

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago

Good to see Qatar has it’s priorities set right as usual.

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