The Guide for Getting a Medical Certificate or a MC online in Singapore

The Guide for Getting a Medical Certificate or a MC online in Singapore

We are not robots, we sometimes fall sick. Most schools and offices in Singapore require us to produce a medical certificate (MC) to prove that we are sick. In other situations, enrichment classes would allow you to reschedule lessons only with a valid MC.

This is a comprehensive guide on getting a MC online in Singapore.

  1. What is a MC?
  2. Why do I need to produce a MC?
  3. How to get a MC in Singapore?
  4. Get a MC online in Singapore
  5. Steps for getting a MC online in Singapore with ReallySick.sg
  6. Tips for you before getting a MC online in Singapore
  7. Comparison of different online medical providers
  8. Tips for you before getting a MC online in Singapore
  9. Can I buy a MC in Singapore?
  10. Can I get a MC online in Singapore within 1 minute?
  11. What makes a MC valid? 
  12. Is the digital MC from reallysick.sg valid?
  13. Legal implication of a MC
  14. Some quirks about MC
  15. What happens if I take too many days of MC online in Singapore?
  16. Will a doctor deny me of a MC if I have taken too many days off?
  17. Why should you not fake your MC?
  18. How will I receive medications if I choose telemedicine?
  19. When should you not get a teleconsult or a MC online in Singapore?
  20. What are the benefits of online doctor consultation over consultations face-to-face?

What is a MC?

A MC is also equivalent to sick leave or sick note that you must produce to account for your absence of work or school. You can only obtain a MC from a Singapore Medical Council (SMC) registered doctor. The doctor will issue the MC when the doctor deems that you are too sick to perform your duty. Sometimes, a MC is given to limit spread of contagious illness.

Traditionally, the doctor would have to ask you a series of questions followed by an examination before they issue a MC. Nowadays, Ministry Of Health (MOH), has learnt that minor illnesses can be diagnosed and treated with telemedicine after the COVID pandemic.

In some situations, you may request for a Light Duty MC that would excuse you from physical activities e.g: carrying of heavy load(s). 

i am really sick

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Why do I need to produce a MC?

“I need to get a MC for missing a class or exam” seem to be a common reason to need to get a MC in Singapore. Schools often require students to produce a MC for illness. In most cases, the condition is contagious and can spread to other students.

Going to school while you have a fever is discouraged and highly frowned upon. In Jan 2023, there was an influenza outbreak in schools as students went to school while still being contagious. So make sure you get sufficient rest before returning back to school.

Some schools may accept parents’ letters in place of a MC. Yet, if your child fall sick frequently, the school may raise concerns over the safety of your child. Especially if the child has not sought professional help for his prolonged illness.

For working adults in Singapore, most companies would expect you to give a MC if you missed work due to a sickness. MC could be due to fever, cough, sore throat, headache, mental illness, pain or a chronic illness.

As most employees are protected by the Employment Act, which entitles you to paid sick leave, having a MC in the record will avoid any ambiguity. A MC represents a medical opinion and if it is “denied” by your company, you should know your rights and seek redress via a union or seek legal advice.

no MC no pay

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How to get a MC in Singapore?

You have to visit a doctor in Singapore. That visit can be done online as well.

In the past, a MC could only be obtained at a physical clinic. You go to the nearby polyclinic or family clinic to see the doctor. Recently these clinics have become very busy due to government initiatives to care for more older patients. As a result, the waiting time to see these doctors in person can be as long as 2-3 hours.

After COVID, MOH has recognised the role of telemedicine for mild or simple illnesses.

Getting a MC online in Singapore serves to alleviate the stress on the medical system by diverting patients away from the physical clinic(s). Telemedicine platforms can issue both medicines and MCs just like physical clinics. 

By reducing the load on physical clinics, you are helping us care for older patients who are more in need of care at our clinics!

— Dr Paul Ang, Zenith Medical Clinic

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Get a MC online in Singapore

Fortunately, now we are able to see a doctor online. Since the advent of telemedicine, you are now able to do that in your own home comfortably. 

Most will require you to download an app, and some can be used directly from the web browser, saving you time and mobile data.

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Steps for getting a MC online in Singapore with reallysick.sg

  1. You must be ‘really sick’ and require a MC. Common reasons why Singaporeans fall really sick would be from stress, headache, running nose, sore throat, cough, diarrhea and fever.
  2. Click here to register for an account with Singpass myinfo. Prepare to tell the doctor what is stopping you from going to work or school. 
  3. Wait for the doctor to issue you the MC if the doctor deems you to be really sick. 
  4. Recall your birthdate in your sick state and open the electronic MC issued in your email. 
The Guide for Getting a Medical Certificate or a MC online in Singapore

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Tips for you before getting a MC online in Singapore

  1. Find a private and quiet space, to protect your own privacy.
  2. Prepare your physical NRIC or identification as the doctor will need to verify your identity.
  3. Try to explain all your symptoms and when they started.
  4. Be polite and explain your condition(s) clearly to the doctor. 

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Comparison of different online medical providers

There are many telemedicine platforms sprouting in recent years. It will be alarming for you to note that MOH only made it compulsory for telemedicine platforms to operate under license from January 2024. Some platforms have been asked to stop their services as they have yet to obtain their licenses due to late applications or failure to comply with processes mandated by the MOH. 

Red Flags?

Below are 8 red flags of platforms that you should avoid. 

1) Bad review for slow, missing or erroneous medicine delivery

Telemedicine platforms are required to conduct regular audits to ensure that the process of dispensing, packing and delivery of medications to be efficient and accurate. Missing deliveries do not just affect your health, they also put you at risk of leaking your personal information.

2) Allow consultation without live video

MOH has made 2 way video consultation mandatory for patient safety. Any telemedicine company that skip the video consultation will get into trouble and so will its consulting patients.

3) No doctor profile displayed on website 

MOH would require at least 1 doctor to be accountable for the processes on the telemedicine platform should there be any breach. If there is no doctors listed on the platform website, you should stay away.

4) Claims to guarantee you an MC

If a platform is able to guarantee you a MC online before your consultation or without a consultation, it is likely that the MC issued is not valid. To ensure that your MC is valid, it must be issued by a SMC registered doctor after a medical consult.

5) Non – transparent pricing

There are telemedicine platforms which charge differently at different timings, like a surge price for ‘peak’ timings just like in a car-hailing service. This is reasonable if these charges were made known to the patients before the consultation.

There are platforms that do not explain these charges upfront. And patients are slapped with a hefty fee at the end for other miscellaneous charges. This is on top of the peak fee charges, like admin charge, referral charge, long consultation charge, etc. 

6) Unresponsive customer service

It is frustrating when you are not well and you have trouble downloading the MC that your boss is asking for. Or if you are feeling really sick and have no idea and have no updates on when the medications will arrive. 

7) Buggy applications

As you may be aware that telemedicine is a ‘new’ thing and many applications and interfaces are still in its developmental stages. If you have encountered bad experience connecting with the doctor or have issues seeing or hearing the doctor, you may want to switch to using other platforms. Imagine while you are in consultation and you are interrupted every 2 to 3 seconds, not only it is unpleasant, it is also really difficult for the doctor to focus and assess your condition properly to diagnose.

8) Offers no medications 

A telemedicine platform that offers no medications can be associated with the sole purpose of ‘selling MC’. You would not want to be seen as faking your illness or ‘buying MC’ from such a platform.

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Can I buy a MC in Singapore?

No, it is not legal or possible to buy a MC in Singapore. MC represents the medical opinion given by the doctor and thus MCs are only given after a consultation.

However, you can easily “buy” a medical consultation whether it’s online or with a physical clinic. With the easy access to online consultations on multiple telemedicine platforms available, you can raise a consult on demand at any time of the day!

Doctors will issue a MC with no additional cost after the medical consult. However, you must have a medical condition or feel really sick before the doctor will be able to certify you as too sick to work or perform your normal duties at school.

Besides, ‘buying’ a MC might put you at risk of committing forgery as well as put the doctor at risk of breaching the SMC Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines.

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Can I get a MC online in Singapore within 1 minute?

Technically, yes. Some platforms are more advanced in identifying the needs of the patient pre-consultation. This allows the doctor to have a good grasp of your concerns before you are connected.

Although a video consultation is compulsory for a valid consultation, the duration of the consultation is up to the doctor’s discretion. In clear cut cases, where your doctor has established a good understanding of your condition prior, it is possible to complete the consultation in a minute!

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What makes a MC valid? 

A valid MC requires the following: 

  1. Serial number for validation of authenticity
  2. Type of medical leave (For example, sick leave, light duty, excuse swimming)
  3. Date of issue of MC
  4. Duration of leave given
  5. Name of the doctor
  6. MCR of the doctor
  7. Your own name and identification number
  8. Make sure it is issued from the ‘https://mc.gov.sg’ domain, if it is a digiMC.

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Is the digital MC from reallysick.sg valid?

The MC from reallysick.sg fulfils these requirements as set out by MOH.

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Legal implication of a MC

The Singapore Medical Council (“SMC”) Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines governs the MC. 

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Some quirks about MC

The doctor cannot issue an MC for a previous date (backdate)

You should always get a MC on the day that you start to fall sick. Doctors will not backdate a MC, or give a MC starting from a date before the consult.

The doctor cannot amend the MC of another doctor

A MC represents a medical opinion and is a medicolegal document, and cannot be amended by other doctors once issued. Only the issuing doctor can make reasonable amendments. The doctor can only state the diagnosis on the MC upon your request. Your employer do not have rights to access your medical records without your permission.

The online doctors usually do not give an MC duration of longer than 2 days

For online MC in Singapore, the duration of MC is usually 1 to 2 day(s). The doctor is unable to assess your medical condition face to face. As such, more serious condition that require longer MC should be seen in person. Should you need an extension of online mc for a longer mild illness, you will need to be reviewed again. If the progression of illness is unusual, your doctor may refer you to consult in person or refer you to a specialist.

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What happens if I take too many days of MC online in Singapore?

Your employers will start to doubt the authenticity of your frequent illnesses; or your school may see this as acts of truancy. 

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Will a doctor deny me of a MC if I have taken too many days off?

In general, doctors are not investigators. We trust the patient’s self reported symptoms and will issue you a MC. If your illness is taking longer than usual to recover, doctors will usually be understanding and extend your MC upon reasonable review. 

If your doctor notices that you are requesting an MC too frequently, he may insist on seeing you in person to assess your condition more thoroughly. We also conduct regular audits to highlight cases in which MCs are issued too frequently.

However, your health records are not shared between telemedicine platforms and it is difficult for a doctor to ascertain the frequency of the MCs requested. Worse so if the patient is unable to recall the days and dates that the doctor had the MCs taken.

Doctors want to give you a benefit of doubt, getting too many MCs online will raise the suspicion that you either have a serious medical condition or that you might not be genuinely sick. Both of which require a more thorough medical examination or face to face consultation.

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Why should you not fake your MC?

When we mean a fake MC, we do not mean that you are ‘faking’ your illness and symptoms. A doctor generally trust your self-reporting symptoms. A doctor generally have no means to verify if the symptoms that you report are genuine, even in a face to face consultation. 

When we say ‘fake’ MC, we refer to amending details of a MC or creating a MC using some digital tools. It is estimated that 5% of MCs are fakes. In the past, fake MCs were produced using old school photocopy machines and correction tape. In recent years, with advanced tools like adobe photoshop, creating a fake MC has became even easier now.

However, it is easier now than before to pick this up! In general, physical clinics will have an official email or Whatsapp contact number, where your teacher or employers can easily reach out to.

Computer generated MCs are saved on the software database and can be verified.

A MC is a medicolegal document. Acts to tamper with a MC or faking an MC can have legal repercussions.

Besides, why fake the MC, when you can consult a doctor for $8 dollars any time, anywhere and explain your illness?

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How will I receive medications if I choose telemedicine?

Most telemedicine platforms are able to dispense medications. Your online doctor will consult and prescribe you with medications suitable for your condition.

We will pack these medications in a tamper-proof bag to deliver to your house. Depending on your telemedicine provider and traffic conditions, expect some waiting time for your medications to arrive. Most telemedicine platforms aim to deliver within 4 hours. In the event that the medication that you request is not in the inventory, your doctor may suggest alternative medications or refund your consultation. If you require your medications instantly, it is advisable that you visit a physical clinic, as delivery timings are not always predictable. 

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When should you not get a teleconsult or a MC online in Singapore?

Some conditions are potentially serious and will not be suitable for seeing a doctor online. They are:

  1. Severe abdominal pain, as the pain could be due to some conditions that can get worse very fast and would require treatment in a hospital. For example, acute appendicitis.
  2. Fever that lasts more than a few days, might be due to dangerous conditions. For example, a simple urinary tract infection (UTI) that has gone to the kidney, or an upper respiratory tract infection that has gone lower into the lungs can be fatal. 
  3. Headache that is very sudden or very painful, with or without injuries could suggest a bleed or cancer in the brain.
  4. Severe vomiting, more than 2 times might result in dehydration or might be due to something dangerous. You may not respond well to oral medications due to persistent vomiting and you may need an injection.
  5. Chest pain, as it can be due to dangerous heart or lung conditions.
  6. Giddiness, as the causes are diverse and it needs to be checked physically in the clinic.
  7. If you are at the extremes of age. For example, very young and very old, the risk of having dangerous conditions will increase.
  8. If you have vague symptoms, and generally just feel very unwell.

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What are the benefits of online doctor consultation over consultations face-to-face?

There are several scenarios where seeing a doctor online is better than in person.

1) Odd hours

Clinics usually operate in the working hours only. If you sleep in due to your illness and wake up only at 9pm. Most clinics would have closed. It might be better to get a MC online.

2) Bad diarrhea, need toilet…

You need the toilet too frequently, and find it hard to walk somewhere far and wait in the clinic.

3) Simple illness, have medications at home and just need a MC online

So that you can rest at home, and the illness will usually recover by itself. Going to a clinic to wait and squeeze with other patients might make you more sick.

4) Poor access to healthcare

Some of us stays at secluded or hard to reach areas such as Jurong Island or even in Johor Bahru. It may take hours to reach the nearest Singapore clinic.

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The rise of telemedicine in Singapore 

In 2018, Senior Minister of State Dr Lam Pin Min, started a telemedicine sandbox program under the Licensing Experimentation and Adaptation Programme (LEAP) to test out telemedicine and mobile medicine in Singapore. 

From 2023, the healthcare services act (HCSA) has begun licensing telemedicine under outpatient medical services (OMS), remote modes of service delivery (MOSD).

At the height of COVID in 2021, Singapore initiated the home recovery program (HRP) as the default care arrangement for patients with mild COVID symptoms. The HRP was a telemedicine service that provided support for COVID patients recovering at home.

Search here to find if your provider is properly licensed to provide a MC online in Singapore.

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Foxy_ 1005
Foxy_ 1005
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Really good and prompt service
shah rusyaidi
shah rusyaidi
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Very straightforward and smooth consultation. Recommended, cheers!
Eve Lin
Eve Lin
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It’s a hassle to bring a baby along when you need to send older kid to see doctor at the clinic. I’m really grateful to come across Reallysick.sg platform to have my sick child access and getting MC for his school. The doctors are professional and helpful in diagnosing my child’s condition. Thank you!
Brian Tan
Brian Tan
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Very fast and legitimate consultation. Don’t need to queue for hours to get proper medication. Doctor will assess and prescribe appropriate medication. For common ailments, I recommend one to use this platform.
Krishna Kumar
Krishna Kumar
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Thanks for considering my issues and responding level is a excellent