"IT has been almost a year since the sad passing of Dr Danny Lee. And from that incident until now, promises were made to ensure the well-being of houseman.May Dr Danny Lee rest in peace and not be a scapegoat for the blame of long working hours. If it was the Heatlh Ministry overworking him to death, it should surmount to manslaughter and his family members should chose to pursue this in the court of Law.
Seniors before you had been working long hours with less incidence of depression and zero suicide. When our Ministry's Director-General was a house officer, he worked long hours and never heard of any suicides in the same rank. Anyway, we have suicide cases in various occupations, including the competitive secondary school students and mothers who can't cope with many children. Maybe in the same context, the students should learn less and have more holidays, and perhaps the mothers should give away their children, just because she requires less work.
Further more, some of us have been working for 28 days straight with no break/off days (oncall nights, we work minimum 14 hours a night).Please be reminded there are no such thing as on call nights. It is an oxymoron. It is called night shift. Anything related to on call is out of the context for house officers. Kindly refrain from using the word on call with any of your shifts.
We are working in a hyper-stressed environment, overworked to our physical and mental limits and worse.Kindly submit a full time table how you are being overworked to your physical and mental limits.
We are living in an evidence-based world, you know.
We would also appreciate an evidence that your baseline limits is not way way below the average people who supposedly had graduated from a medical school.
So my question to the MOH, was the promise made about us working 60 hours a week true and will it be truly and strictly implemented or was it a publicity stunt?We compliments you for asking such a good question.
Now, having been working for a year, can you answer this question - what is the normal level of total white cell count, platelets, hemoglobin, urea, creatinine, AST, ALT and blood glucose? (without looking at the reference value).
The Heatlh Ministry can assure you that this is not a publicity stunt and we welcome your resignation for a better job offer in neighbouring countries which will NOT make you work more than 60 hours a week and probably in your context, maybe you can have more than 2 days off a week.
No one is pointing a gun or strap a C4 to your head to work in our Ministry.
If you have problem in typing the resignation letter, don't bother to. Many your peers had just disappear without any words, verbal or written. We will accept it as your precious resignation as long as your parents do not file any police report by 24hours of your disappearance.
Read also For Future Doctors: Shift work for Housemen?
IT has been almost a year since the sad passing of Dr Danny Lee. And from that incident until now, promises were made to ensure the well-being of houseman.
I refer to the report “Housemen still being overworked and bullied, sending some into depression” (The Star, April 14, 2012).
The Health Ministry (MOH) stated that housemen are supposed to work 60 hours a week with two off days.
But the sad reality is, that is not happening.
Let me shed some light on a typical houseman’s work day is. Depending on the posting, most of us have to be at the hospital as early as 6.30am (not taking into account where some of us live) and work up to 6.30pm. That is an average of 12 hours of work per day, seven days a week.
Further more, some of us have been working for 28 days straight with no break/off days (oncall nights, we work minimum 14 hours a night).
What is worse, in some postings, housemen are forced to work from 7am to 7pm.
And that is the reality of life as a houseman.
We are working in a hyper-stressed environment, overworked to our physical and mental limits and worse.
Not many houseman dare to complain as threats of extensions by their superiors constantly remind them that they have no say in anything as long as they carry the title “houseman”.
Please don’t get us wrong, some of us enjoy working but we do not enjoy working every single day with no proper break/off days.
My context of “off days” means a break from work between 24 hours and 48 hours.
So my question to the MOH, was the promise made about us working 60 hours a week true and will it be truly and strictly implemented or was it a publicity stunt?
I can assure you most housemen in other hospitals, still work an average of 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
We do not mind working long hours, but we mind not having two proper days off so that we can have a break from the stressed environment of the hospital.