Health officials in Dubai may scrap the paid sick note ruling that came into effect on Wednesday after complaints that employers and insurance companies may not be willing to bear the additional cost.
As per a decree issued by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), all patients seeking a sick leave note from a doctor will have to pay Dh60 per note in addition to the doctor’s consultation fee.
the patient fee was under review and could be cancelled all together. “We are considering this point and reviewing the charges … we may cancel it all together,” said Dr Layla Al Marzouqi, head of Clinical Governance Office at the authority’s Health Regulation Department.
“The authority is open to suggestions and we have received a lot of complaints that the fee may pose a burden on the patient,” she explained.
However, until the authority takes the decision, patients seeking a sick leave note will have to pay up, she said. All leave notes will be issued electronically and a DHA attestation will no longer be required. Earlier only government employees had to pay Dh50 for the note.
The official also said that the decision had been taken after some cases of the system being abused emerged. “Though the online system of issuing sick leaves has been there for a couple of years, it is not being used regularly by doctors … so it was necessary to introduce these charges,” said Dr Layla. Filing online leave notes will also help the authority keep a tab. “It is a way of auditing.”
She also said that health professionals found to be violating the system will be fined Dh5,000. Manual notes can only be accepted in case the DHA online system breaks down. “We are working to improve the system so as to have more control over it,” she added.
A GP can issue a leave note for maximum of three days at a time while a consultant can give a note for 14 days. For feedback, residents can write to firstname.lastname@example.org