DOH taps idle Pampanga hospital to serve poor, remote areas

DOH taps idle Pampanga hospital to serve poor, remote areas

By: - Correspondent / @inquirerdotnet
/ 05:02 AM March 07, 2024

PHOTO: Teodoro Herbosa STORY: DOH taps idle Pampanga hospital to serve poor, remote areas

Health SecretaryTeodoro Herbosa (Photo by ARNEL TACSON /

SANTO TOMAS, Pampanga, Philippines — An idle 550-square-meter hospital that once served as a COVID-19 facility in this Pampanga town was transformed into a government-run health-care center to serve patients from remote communities in the province and other parts of Central Luzon.

Called Bagong Urgent Care and Ambulatory Services (Bucas), the medical facility operated by the Department of Health (DOH) was opened on Wednesday as part of the intensified health-care programs of the government, according to Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa.


Herbosa and some local officials led the inauguration of the Santo Tomas Bucas, the first of its kind in the country.


At a press briefing following the opening of the Bucas facility, Herbosa said the ambulatory hospital would address the immediate medical requirements of the most underserved individuals and communities nationwide based on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s health-care initiative for 28 million Filipinos across 28 priority areas by 2028.

The Santo Tomas Bucas will also serve as an extension facility of Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital (JBLMGH), a regional hospital based in the capital City of San Fernando.

READ: DOH inaugurates first urgent care center in PH

Santo Tomas Mayor Johnny Sambo said the newly opened medical center would cater to 50,000 residents of seven barangays in his town as well as those in the adjacent town of Minalin and nearby areas.

Services offered

Sambo said the ambulatory hospital would also address the long queues of outpatients in need of medical laboratory services from JBLMGH.

According to Dr. Monserrat Chichioco, JBLMGH medical chief, the ambulatory hospital is equipped to address surgical and nearly all laboratory requirements, including mammography for early-stage breast cancer detection in women.


Additionally, it offers services such as endoscopy, trauma care, oral-maxillofacial surgery, otorhinolaryngological surgery, reproductive health, orthopedics, pediatrics, dentistry, radiology, and pharmacy services. These facilities are available in at least 10 neighboring towns served by JBLMGH.

“From the south, we can cater to Bulacan; from the north, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija; and Bataan and Zambales on the western side of the region,” Chichioco told reporters.

The DOH has earmarked between P30 million and P50 million for constructing a Bucas facility.

Herbosa said the Bucas facility is a major thrust of the Marcos administration to provide poor Filipinos with equal health medication opportunities under the DOH equity program.


Herbosa was joined by Gov. Dennis Pineda, Vice Gov. Lilia Pineda, Rep. Anna York Bondoc, and other local and JBLGMH officials during the event. They also led the ground-breaking ceremony for a 2-hectare additional lot property as an expansion of the Bucas facility compound.

Herbosa said that, based on the original concept, a Bucas center is intended to be put up beside or near a state college or university to also serve as a future medical school laboratory.

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Bondoc announced that Gov. Pineda also allotted a vacant property a few minutes from the Santo Bucas facility to host a medical school through a P70-million fund that she and Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara shared.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: COVID-19, Pampanga, Santo Tomas BUCAS

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