Cough cough: Saudi medical professional doctors sick leave certificates
Not ready to start your work week? Well you could buy a sick leave for just $21! (Shutterstock)
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A doctor at a public health center in Jeddah has been accused of issuing fake medical certificates to government employees to justify their absence from work, of course for a fee.
Several government employees allegedly made use of the doctor’s services in order to escape penal action from superiors for absence without leave, Al-Watan newspaper reported. The doctor charged a fee of SR80 ($21) per certificate.
The employee coming to the clinic will be asked to fill a form before undergoing a fake medical checkup. The medical officer will then ask about any health problems before issuing the certificate.
The nurse at the reception can quickly identify such “patients” who normally inquire about a specific doctor, who is “specialized” in issuing medical certificates to government employees. She will then ask the patient to pay the SR80 fee ($21), Al-Watan said.
According to the paper, the doctor receives at least 60 such patients in the evening hours daily, as many employees use his help to cover up their absence from work.
The doctor has reportedly been extending this unique service for several years without being questioned by authorities.
Previously the doctor was charging only SR50 ($13) to issue a medical certificate but the fee has been increased to SR80 ($21) especially for customers who ask for a three-day medical leave.
The doctor also enables employees of private companies to circumvent regulations, as the private sector would not allow medical leave for more than a day except for serious cases.
The doctor would ask his customers where they worked. If they worked for military and security services, he would not issue medical certificates fearing the consequences. They would be given the money back.
Al-Watan visited the health center to know the doctor’s popularity and found that many employees are his regular customers.
Abdullah Al-Ghamdi, spokesman for Jeddah Health Affairs, said the Health Ministry has adopted a mechanism to track down such violations.
“We will conduct regular inspections to discover such unhealthy practices. We also respond to complaints made by citizens and residents on such cases,” he explained.
The inspecting team has been given the authority to punish staff members considering the gravity of their violations, Al-Ghamdi said.
“If we find out that the health center cooperated with the doctor to commit such violations we will take action not only against the doctor but also the center,” he said.