Transfer of children’s hospital to Lung Center compound opposed
MANILA, Philippines–If the solution pushed by the Department of Health is to be adopted, the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) will end up as a hospital squatting in another hospital.
Groups opposed to the relocation of the PCMC raised this concern as they called on the national government to just donate the Quezon City property that had been the hospital’s home for the last 34 years instead of moving it to the nearby Lung Center of the Philippines compound.
In a press conference held at the PCMC lobby on Monday, the groups calling themselves the #SavePCMC Alliance asked that the tertiary hospital remain in and be given the title to the 3.7-hectare property at the corner of Quezon Avenue and Agham Road.
The alliance is made up of doctors, nurses, staff and even patients at the PCMC; the Akap Bata party-list group, and the Network Opposed to Privatization.
According to Jara Corazon Ehera, PCMC deputy director for hospital services, Health Secretary Enrique Ona visited the hospital on March 28 and offered an “option” to modernize the facility by transferring it to the LCP compound also on Quezon Avenue.
Ehera recalled that when they asked for an area of the same size currently occupied by PCMC, Ona did not respond and instead said that a high-rise building would be constructed to house the PCMC at the Lung Center.
But Ehera expressed reservations about operating a pediatric hospital in a high-rise building. “It will be very difficult to evacuate the sick children in times of emergency, for example,” she said. “We can modernize here, not in the Lung Center area.”
The PCMC official also noted that the existing development plan for the hospital involves the construction of five or six other structures to upgrade its services and be more responsive to the needs of the patients.
Akap Bata national spokesperson and #SavePCMC convenor Anna Saplor said the transfer would result in the “total disruption” of hospital services, adding that putting PCMC inside another hospital would make child patients vulnerable to other diseases.
“We strongly demand that our government spare PCMC and the health services for children in general from its privatization scheme. Instead of pushing for the public-private partnership project, the Aquino government must prioritize and allocate greater subsidy to PCMC and similar public hospitals for children,” she said.
“Instead of evicting, relocating and commercializing PCMC, President Aquino and Secretary Ona must donate the 3.7-hectare land of the hospital to the entire PCMC community.”
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