Certimed and Mediwe, companies that carry out medical examinations, say current labour legislation needs to be amended given the shortage of doctors required to check, at the request of an employer, whether an employee has a legitimate medical reason to be absent from work. In 2017, Certimed did 190,000 such checks, a figure that has gradually been decreasing since 2015, when it reached 190,000. About 300 doctors perform the checks but, Certimed argues, this is an insufficient number. The company recruits five additional examining doctors each year but, ideally, it would need to recruit 20 per year to satisfy the demand for such services.
With about 200 doctors doing some 35,000 examinations, Mediwe has less of a staff shortage, but is also looking for assistance. “During holidays or epidemics, like ‘flu, it’s not always possible to find enough doctors,” explains the firm’s director, Christophe Deman. “Many leave, because of the job’s negative connotation, but also for reasons of mobility,” he adds.
Employers have suggested amending the legislation on examining doctors. To occupy such a post, you currently need five years’ experience, whereas many doctors would like to apply. A number of stakeholders of the sector have had discussions with the cabinet of federal Public Health Minister Maggie De Block, but no concrete measure has followed.
Christophe Deman also proposes training general practitioners in the various aspects of occupational medicine.