Be more open on how medical condition affects NS performance

I accompanied my son to his national service (NS) pre-enlistment medical screening at the Central Manpower Base last week to inform the medical officer of his ongoing treatment for idiopathic scoliosis (a type of spinal deformity).

The medical officer told me that scoliosis is now common in teenagers aged between 12 and 18 and that the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) had a fixed medical classification for enlistees with such a condition.

When he said my son's condition was "moderate", I pressed for details, but he said he could not disclose them.

In the interest of safety for NS enlistees and their parents, I hope the authorities can clarify if scoliosis is indeed very common among teens and if such a condition could affect the performance of servicemen in training.

It would also be good for Mindef to share the Physical Employment Status classification for enlistees with such a condition.

Goh Geok Huat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2017, with the headline 'Be more open on how medical condition affects NS performance'. Print Edition | Subscribe