RP’s Public Hospitals Undergoing Systems Facelifts

Government hospitals are presently undergoing systems overhauls amid mounting dissatisfaction that the Health Department is itself acknowledging.

Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 32, September 14-20, 2008

BAGUIO CITY (246 kms north of Manila) – Government hospitals are presently undergoing systems overhauls amid mounting dissatisfaction that the Health Department is itself acknowledging.

Accreditation teams from the Department of Health (DoH) Central Office are going around different public hospitals in the country using quality assurance tools to check on hospitals capabilities including systems and facilities, said Dr. Amelita Pangilinan, operations chief of the DoH-Cordillera, during a health care forum here Sept. 11.

This includes the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, the only tertiary government hospital in the region servicing Northern and even Central Luzon provinces, which has been at the receiving end of very strong criticisms hurled by dissatisfied patients over how some of the hospital officials, doctors, nurses and crew treated them in the past.

Lately, complaints regarding the “loss of compassion” among public doctors have been hounding officials at the BGH. “We’ve heard complaints,” Dr. Pangilinan admitted.

Even the Benguet General Hospital and Medical Center in nearby La Trinidad, has not been spared from controversies regarding medial staffers’ alleged “loss of compassion” for their patients.

But Dr. Pangilinan said reforms are already being undertaken on these matters including systems changes in the health sector like health care financing, sourcing of funds, regulations and governance (functionality of local health systems). “We are seeing (to it that we are moving) towards quality health care (for the public) that carries with it sensitivity to the clients and their satisfaction,” she said.

The Health Department is also trying to ferret out the reasons behind the “the loss of compassion” among government doctors and public health care professionals.

Nurses “overproduction”

Meanwhile, the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) said that there has been an overproduction of nurses since 2007. Citing this, it is urging the government to regulate the education and training of health professionals and base their training according to the needs of the country.

As of 2004, an estimated 85 percent of employed Filipino nurses (approximately 150,000) are abroad. Low salaries led them to flee to other countries where pay and benefits are higher, the non-government Community Health Education, Services and Training in the Cordillera Region (Chestcore) said. Even doctors are taking up nursing to work abroad, it added.

Interestingly also, the Philippines is second to India in exporting doctors to other countries. The DoH had revealed that 2,000 doctors took up nursing in 2004. The number rose to 6,000 a year later.

“If the overproduction of nurses and the flight of health workers are not addressed, this will add further to the problem of the deteriorating health care system,” Dean Ruth Thelma P. Tingda, president of the PNA-Cordillera and Region I said. Contributed to (Bulatlat.com)

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