Forum: Let healthcare workers take an overseas holiday break

Healthcare workers are probably the most heavily burdened group of people in this Covid-19 pandemic and I'm glad this is being recognised (PM Lee, ministers pledge support as they thank healthcare workers, Oct 10).

They not only have to deal with the stress of a heavier workload while keeping abreast of the rapidly changing medical protocols, but they also have to live with the fear of catching the virus and passing it on to their loved ones.

Many have demonstrated resilience in the face of challenges.

As a family member of a healthcare professional, I have seen first-hand the sacrifices they have to make.

There is the stress of long hours at work - and being called back to work, very often at short notice.

What most do not realise is even when the rest of us learn to live with the virus, things do not automatically go back to normal for healthcare workers.

Personnel who have been redirected for Covid-19 duties will eventually return to their own roles to deal with the backlog of work that they left behind.

Healthcare workers can get burnt out too.

I think it is important to recognise their work through rewards. At the very least they should not be penalised.

A recent Ministry of Health circular sent out to public healthcare workers about an overseas travel leave ban seems to be a case in point.

Many of us are going through cabin fever - healthcare workers, for their sanity, deserve to go overseas for a holiday just as much as everyone else does.

Edmund Ng

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