From ‘Hospital staff must walk the talk’ 19 June 2010, article by Alicia Wong in Today online
He (Alexandra Health CEO, Liak Teng Lit) said it is “very (visually) obvious” when (hospital) employees are grossly overweight, and they will be advised by supervisors that a higher health risk aside, they are also not being good role models for patients.
“The closest I would say to a KPI (key performance indicator) is, we say this: All things being equal, if you are grossly obese, we won’t promote you,” said Mr Liak.
“If you are not fit, you are going to fall sick … and spread the germs to patients and family members,” he said.
Also, healthcare workers will not have any credibility to help patients lead a healthy lifestyle. “Unless we are able to say ‘Look at me, this is what I do’.”
By the same argument, hospital employees, be it nurse or surgeon, overworked or not, should also never smoke, drink alcohol regularly, only eat organic food, and exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes 3 times a week. The latter a luxury which Mr Liak and his ilk could probably afford but not those on emergency night shifts. Even if you grant 30 minutes of exercise to your staff per day, nobody would have the time or motivation to take advantage of it in view of the gruelling, bloody nature of hospital work. How is this different from hiring only D cuppers for a Hooters’ branch? Any patient would appreciate being attended to in their darkest moments, and not view with contempt the girth of their caretaker nor look up to them as role models. Nobody ever tells himself ‘My nurse is slim, so I must also be slim’, nor should a fat one in any way influence a patient’s choice of keeping fit. This is not a case of a sloppy gym instructor commanding you to pump more pounds while he’s munching on KFC. Hospital workers are there to treat and ensure patients are discharged ASAP, and even if they are fat, one should sympathise that their obesity has probably more to do with the constraints of the job rather than a myopic assumption of laziness. This is discrimination and bad management, plain and simple. I stress again, nobody looks for role models in hospitals. They just look for the exit sign. More frowning on the fat here.
By the way, Mr Liak, you don’t need to be fat to fall prey to disease, I figure your good friend and Minister of Health Khaw Boon Wan would be the first to lay testimony to that.
Filed under: 2010, Bureaucrats, Politicians | Tagged: Alexandra Health, ceo, discrimination, fat, hospital workers, Khaw Boon Wan, Khoo Teck Puat, liak teng lit, Minister of Health, obesity | 2 Comments »