By Hannah Torregoza
Reelectionist Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay has vowed to pursue the passage of a measure that would regulate and professionalize the nursing sector.
With the passage of the Universal Health Care (UHC) into law, Binay said it’s about time lawmakers look into the plight of nurses and caregivers and pass the measure that seeks a new comprehensive nursing law.
Binay, who filed Senate Bill No. 2069, said the measure specifically seeks to improve the lives of nurses who are at the frontline of healthcare services in the country.
According to Binay, with the passage of the Universal Healthcare Act, she expects more work would be shouldered by nurses.
“Mas madadagdagan sila ng responsibilidad at trabaho, pero walang pagbabago sa kanilang sweldo (They would be given more responsibilities and workload, and yet their salaries remain the same),” she noted.
The bill, she said, also aims to institute measures towards the protection and improvement of the nursing profession.
“The full potential of nurses as a partner of the government in providing quality and affordable healthcare services is undermined by unemployment, underemployment, and poor working conditions,” Binay pointed out.
She added that the benefits nurses receive cannot even sustain a decent family living, noting that many new nurses working in hospitals receive wages between P250 and P350 a day.
“Sa liit ng kanilang sweldong tinatanggap, mahirap isipin kung paano mapapagkasya kung pamilyado sila (With the meager pay they get, it’s hard to imagine how they can provide for their families),” she said.
“At ngayon, ini-expect natin na maraming Pilipino ang mabibigyan ng healthcare coverage dahil sa universal healthcare law, tama lang na bigyan din ng tutok ang mga concerns ng nurses (now, we expect that many Filipinos would be given healthcare coverage because of the universal healthcare law, it’s only fitting that we focus on the concerns of nurses),” she added.
The measure also provides that nurses working in public and private institutions be given a minimum base pay equivalent to Salary Grade-15, or at least P33,000.
Binay said it is imperative that the government looks after the welfare of health workers, saying many of them are still on Job Order status or not receiving any regular pay.
The bill proposes the creation of a seven-man Professional Regulatory Board of Nursing or Board that would ensure the proper conduct of the NLE (Nurse Licensure Exams) which includes the application, test development, examination, correction and release of results; and to issue, suspend, revoke or reissue certificates of registration for the practice of nursing and ensure the widest publication through electronic and written media.
The Board would be mandated to enforce and monitor safe and quality standards of nursing practice and study the conditions affecting the nursing practice in the Philippines.