San Lazaro Hospital denies nurses’ complaints of ‘understaffing, overwork’
MANILA, Philippines — San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, one of the government hospitals at the forefront of the country’s fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, has denied claims made by some of its nurses who complained of being overworked and unprotected.
Earlier, the Filipino Nurses United – San Lazaro chapter revealed the “physical, emotional, and mental” sufferings of medical frontliners working in the hospital.
The group pointed out that 40 of San Lazaro’s personnel have already tested positive for COVID-19.
The nurses also cited the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPEs) as they complained of being instructed to reuse PPEs even after 12-hour shifts and for not being given sufficient support in terms of transportation, accommodation, and stress debriefing.
In a statement Sunday, the San Lazaro Hospital Management denied the nurses’ allegations.
While it confirmed that the hospital has over 40 coronavirus-infected personnel, the hospital’s management said the cases are cumulative since March.
To address the physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion of its frontliners during the pandemic, San Lazaro Hospital management said it has approved the work schedule arrangement proposed and recommended by the supervisors and the staffers of the Nursing Division that allows for fewer days of work in a week.
It also claimed that “psychosocial and debriefing sessions are regularly conducted by our psychiatrist to address the mental and emotional concerns of the staff.”
“With our current occupancy rate of only around 20% and with the almost the same number of staff that took care of patients at even 80-100% occupancy rate prior to the pandemic (during dengue, leptospirosis, and measles outbreak), management DON’T see reasons or basis for their claim of understaffing,” San Lazaro Hospital management said.
“In fact, the standard nurse to patient ratio is being observed accordingly. (e.g. 1:1 and even 2:1 nurse to patient ratio, at certain instances, in intensive care areas,” it added.
The hospital’s management likewise clarified that the reuse of N95 masks is allowed under certain conditions within the policy and infection and control guidelines recommendation.
It then assured that PPEs and N95 mask supplies are still sufficient and can still last for a month.
On the nurses’ complaint about limited transportation and accommodation, San Lazaro Hospital claimed that it has been providing transport services through outsourced providers aside from in-house transport services.
“We also provided and even increased the number of rooms for the hotel accommodations (Orleans Hotel) for our staff, in addition to the temporary lodging facilities provided to them for their stay in the hospital,” it added.
As for the alleged unjust salary and unfair implementation of hazard pay, the hospital’s management assured that the San Lazaro Hospital is “compliant in the giving of salaries and benefits in accordance with budget appropriation and guidelines.”
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