Over 1,800 nurses still needed in fight against COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Over 1,800 positions for government nurses remain unfilled amid the coronavirus pandemic the country is facing, the Department of Health admitted on Monday.
During the deliberations on the DOH’s 2021 budget in the House of Representatives, Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-an revealed that the government still needs to hire 1,831 nurses for its COVID-19 response.
“Ito ‘yung mga nagre-resign at nagre-retire na mga nurse (These were the nurses who resigned or retired),” he said.
The government, however, was able to hire more than 8,000 nurses in its emergency hiring.
Tong-an likewise admitted that there is a shortage of physical therapists, medical technologists, and respiratory therapists in terms of filled plantilla positions.
He admitted that such healthcare workers prefer working overseas due to higher pay.
ACT Teachers’ party-list Rep. France Castro questioned the DOH for having 13,794 job-order and contract of service workers despite the unfilled 14,553 unfilled plantilla positions in government.
She urged the DOH to push for the creation of plantilla positions for nurses and other healthcare workers that the government is currently lacking to address the issue.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who is present during the hearing, said the agency will recommend to the Department of Budget and Management to “convert these JOs and COS into plantilla positions for better security of tenure.” [ac]
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.