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Where have our nurses gone? Senators told ‘maldistribution’ is to blame

9,000 NURSES LURED TO MORE LUCRATIVE WORK AT PNP BUT DOING 'NON-NURSING JOBS'
/ 03:20 PM May 19, 2021
Where have our nurses gone? PHA head blames 'maldistribution'

Philippine Hospital Association (PHA) president Dr. Jaime Almora worries about a shortage of nurses in hospitals. INQUIRER.net file photo

MANILA, Philippines – A lack of workforce in hospitals amid the pandemic is not caused by the shortage of nurses in the country, but the “maldistribution” of such professionals, with 9,000 nurses enlisted in the Philippine National Police doing non-nursing jobs, senators discovered Wednesday.

During a Senate hearing on the status of government assistance to pandemic-hit sectors, Philippine Hospital Association (PHA) president Dr. Jaime Almora noted that the “steep increase” in salaries for uniformed personnel “created an exodus of nurses from the hospitals.”

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He said that as many as 9,000 nurses are currently serving in the PNP as police officers “doing non-nursing job[s].”

COVID-19 still roils in the country, and Almora is worried about the lack of healthcare staffing in hospitals.

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“The sheer number of COVID cases is simply beyond the capability of the existing manpower of the hospitals,” he said.

“The massive demand by DOH (Department of Health) of nurses to man the COVID tracing and monitoring efforts has been sourced out from the private hospitals,” he added.

“Whatever remains is further decimated by the growing number of nurses being admitted in the isolation rooms and COVID facilities of their hospitals because more and more nurses are infected by the virus,” Almora further said.

Melbert Reyes, president of the Philippine Nurses Association, said many nurses choose to work in non-nursing fields because they pay better and give more benefits.

“It’s not really the shortage of nurses but the maldistribution. We have nurses in the Department of Education, Bureau of Fire, Bureau of Correction, the PNP (Philippine National Police) and non-nursing fields. It’s because of the compensation and benefits primarily and it’s because of the value that the government is giving our nurses,” Reyes said.

Even so, Almora warned against matching nurses’ salaries in the country with what they would get overseas.

“If we raise the nursing salary to an amount near the dollar salary of nurses abroad, it will be a load 50 times the earning capacity of our ordinary patients,” he said.

“At this time, when the earning buying power of the Filipino has also gone down, healthcare will become inaccessible contrary to the aims and purposes of the Universal Healthcare law,” he added.

abc

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TAGS: Nation, News, nurses, Philippine Hospital Association, Philippine Nurses Association, PNA, Senate
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