Maritime Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I want to send my crew for medical checkup for joining the ship. What should I do?
A: Before sending the crew to Maritime Medical Centre, determine what type of medical checkup the crew needs, under what flag and whether vaccinations are up to date. And the company or agent must provide the crew with the company chit or letter requesting medical service and undertaking to pay for the charges.
Q: Is it possible to arrange transport for my crew to the Maritime Medical Centre?
A: Yes, we can arrange by appointment to pick up the crew who needs our medical service. The agent can ask for crew transport by providing details of pick-up e.g. time, date and location. Medical assistance such as wheelchair is also available upon request.
Q: How long does a general medical checkup usually take?
A: Basic medical checkup with chest x-ray, VDRL, urine test and doctor consultation may take about one hour. More complicated case will depend on the crew's condition. However, the medical certification can be done on the same day.
Q: How can I make the payment for the medical services - by cash or cheque?
A: We accept payment by cash, Visa or Mastercard. We do not accept cheque. We accept corporate clients and their payments through bank orders..
Q: If my agent sends me for a medical checkup, do I have to pay the medical fees?
A: Yes, you will have to pay the fees, unless the agency decides to absorb the charges. This will be reflected on the medical chit.
Q: What documents should I bring for the medical checkup?
A: Bring your IC/passport, seaman's book and the letter from your company requesting medical services, glasses or contact lenses if you wear, previous medical records (with diagnosis and treatments) and/or any medical forms from the ship.
Q: My crew needs to see a specialist. Can this be arranged?
A: Yes, we can arrange it. However, our doctor will perform a checkup first before deciding to send the crew to specialist. This is to ensure that patient is treated by the right specialist based on his medical condition, to minimize error of sending to a wrong specialist. We facilitate the investigations for the specialist so that he can be treated rapidly.
Q: Why should we send our seafarers to Maritime Medical Centre?
A: Because the crew is usually in need of rapid access and diagnosis and treatment based on evidence, our setup satisfies this process and our years of experience in maritime medicine and familiarity of their work environment enable us to treat the crew effectively.
Q: Could any other doctor in other places perform the medical checkup?
A: This clinic has been approved by world maritime organizations (naval authorities, P&I Clubs and so on) to perform certain licensed seafarers' examination. These examinations are subject to guidelines that are much stricter than ordinary pre-employment checkups done in most other clinics. Our doctors have been trained to perform such checkups according to the rules and regulations under international maritime authorities.
Q: Who is responsible for performing the required medical examinations?
A: Any qualified doctor may perform the required medical examinations as long as he or she is certified to do so under the new STCW Convention. The doctor must be familiar with the details of maritime work as well as its requirements and demands. Many companies have their own doctor assigned to their staff. This is highly recommended since this doctor knows the work conducted on board very well, and has access to the staff's medical files and history. According to the ILO Convention 73/2126, article 8, the employee is entitled to request a new medical examination performed at a different clinic or by a different doctor, if the health certificate is not granted at first.
Q: Who is responsible for the quality of the maritime clinics?
A: There are many stakeholders in maritime industry that are involved in auditing of the maritime clinics: ship-owners, shipping management companies, crewing agencies, P&I Clubs and Naval Authorities. Every of these entities have their own system of and interest in the clinics' accreditation. The quality methods, criteria, systems and auditors' qualifications vary for each country and for each stakeholder. That is why there is a huge need of the harmonization of these auditing and accreditation systems.
Q: What is the IMHA Quality program?
A: The program provides a quality assurance tool for medical facilities performing seafarer fitness examinations by setting a system of quality assurance standards developed for maritime health clinics. These standards have been developed in response to the lack of international standards or guidelines on good practice and the management of facilities where seafarer medical fitness examinations are conducted. National standards and guidelines are at present variable or nonexistent.
This means that organizations such as employers, insurers, trade unions or maritime authorities who need quality assured information on the medical fitness of seafarers can only obtain this if they themselves assess examination procedures. In the absence of such assessment a seafarer's certificate of fitness may not give reliable information on their fitness to work at sea and this may result in avoidable illnesses or safety risks. In addition seafarers are subject to wide variations in the quality and equity of medical examinations and certification procedures, sometimes resulting in unnecessary loss of employment or conversely in avoidable illness and risk while working at sea.
These measures should help to raise the overall standard of care provided by seafarer health services internationally, thus improving the fairness of decisions on fitness to work at sea and hence seafarer health worldwide in line with the aims and objectives of IMHA.