Group calls for mass hiring of doctors, nurses for Cebu’s hospitals

THE Coalition for People’s Right to Health (CPRH)-Cebu Chapter called on government officials to urgently address the lack of health workers in the city’s hospitals, which are overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.

The CPRH called for the mass hiring of nurses with minimum entry salary of P32,000 and to fill up vacant positions.

"Additional nurses will meet the safe nurse to patient ratio so that nurses do not have to work more than eight hours a day and that they can have enough rest and gain strength to work the next day," the group said.

The CPHR is a broad formation of non-government organizations and individuals working for a free, progressive and comprehensive health care. It has taken various stands on the current health crisis that is affecting the country and the world.

"The government should also hire more physicians to attend to Covid patients. The Cebu Medical Society, in a recent statement, said that it has more than 3,000 members. All nurses, doctors and health workers should be provided with just benefits such as hazard pay and incentive pay. They should also be provided with adequate personal protective equipment (PPEs) to ensure that they do not get infected with the virus. There are already many health workers on quarantine further depleting the number in the frontlines," it said.

The CPHR also deplored the June 26, 2020 memorandum of the Department of Health to deploy Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) physicians from Regions 6 and 7 to private hospitals in Cebu City.

The DTTB program is intended to provide doctors in underserved Geographically Isolated and Depressed Areas (Gida) and the CPRH said the deployment will deprive hundreds of thousands of people in the low income, remote catchment areas of medical doctors for at least four to six weeks.

"The DTTB physicians are public health doctors in rural health centers who are providing essential medical services such as control of communicable and chronic diseases, disease prevention, immunization, women and child health care, community surveillance and curative services for common diseases for the majority poor," it said.

The CPRH also called on the government to mandate the private hospitals to provide its nurses with minimum basic salary of P32,000 by enacting two important House Bills: House Bill 3478 on the Minimum Basic Salary of Nurses and House Bill 5184 or the Magna Carta of Private Health Workers.

"Immediate enactment of the said proposed bills would entice nurses to join the health workforce in serving their countrymen especially in this Covid-19 pandemic," the group added.

The CPRH also called on the Department of Health to conduct mass testing of all nurses, doctors and health workers who are highly exposed to Covid-19 patients in hospitals and health centers.

"They must be tested even if they are asymptomatic in order to identify those who are infected and have to be put on isolation in order not to pose risk to others. To make this possible, the government must provide adequate test kits for the frontline health workers," it said.

"The CPRH learned that many doctors and nurses in the hospitals are exhausted, burned out and afraid of getting the virus. Many nurses have expressed their desire to resign," it added.

The Cebu Medical Society, in a statement early last week, raised concerns over the city’s “exhausted and overwhelmed health system.” It said hospitals were undermanned, essential medical equipment were scarce, while doctors and nurses were getting sick or exhausted. Since hospital beds for Covid-19 patients in Cebu City were full, many patients were waiting in the emergency room while others were refused admission.

The CPRH expressed its respect and recognition of the sacrifices and hard work of all health workers in Cebu City, as well as in other parts of Cebu province who are now facing the greatest challenge in the fight against Covid-19. (PR)