More support awaits committed healthcare workers during COVID-19

Medical staff prepare pre screening procedure at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases building at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore on January 31, 2020. - Patients infected with the virus similar to the SARS pathogen are warded in isolation rooms at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases according to the health ministry as Singapore bans January 28 new arrivals with recent travel to virus-hit Chinese province ramping up government measures against the spread of a deadly virus. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP)

On Thursday, a press release published on Ministry of Manpower (MOM) official site revealed that the Ministry is working closely with National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) to support dedicated healthcare workers who have worked vigorously amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The joint statement informs public healthcare institutions to issue a letter of proof on the respective employer’s cancellation of leave in order to serve the people during the COVID-19 outbreak. The letter would be an evidence to assist the workers claim for refunds from travel agents and insurance companies.

The statement adds that, in the event, these travel agencies are unable to provide a complete refund, public healthcare institutions would step in to help defray the costs incurred by the workers.

Meanwhile, medical staff who face difficulties in claiming their refunds, can seek the assistance of the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU).

The media statement reiterates that all three parties are prepared to work together to demonstrate their appreciation towards the commitment of the front line workers in battling the COVID-19 outbreak.

Apropos, the tripartite partners encourage all concerned parties, particularly travel agencies and insurance companies to show these exemplary healthcare professionals more sensitivity and support during this period.

This comes as a relief in difficult times where Singapore healthcare professionals are facing discrimination as possible carriers for serving with dedication, treating and caring for COVID-19 victims.

Nothing can be more hurtful than this, where in a statement on Wednesday, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin, had to go public regarding the discrimination faced by medical professionals as being potential COVID-19 carriers. He called this attitude “disgraceful”.

“We have read reports of nurses being asked not to take the lift, take the stairs instead. Nurses have been asked to leave the train … Ambulance drivers being asked not to buy food, so as not to contaminate others,” Mr Amrin, added.

He asked Singaporeans to stand united as these men and women have dutifully served Singapore during this turbulent time.

Mr Amrin’s comments came after several reports of healthcare workers being ostracized in public due to concerns over the new virus.

“It does not reflect the best of us Singaporeans,” he continued, “In times of crisis, we must stand together and stand united, and these are people, ordinary men and women who have served Singapore in this time”.

Mr Amin was speaking at the Singapore Civil Defence Force headquarters as he thanked healthcare professionals for their continuous efforts in combating the infectious disease.

President of Singapore, Madam Halimah Yacob echoed Mr Amrin’s sentiments in a recent Facebook post of how front line medical professionals are being treated in wake of the coronavirus.

Madam Halimah describes the health care workers as human beings who valiantly put their lives at risk to serve those who are in greater need. She urged Singaporeans to fight the outbreak by working together and showing appreciation towards the front line health workers.

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