63 firefighter-nurses deployed in 12 NCR hospitals to augment health workers

Published May 18, 2021, 4:25 PM

by Chito Chavez

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Tuesday, May 18, that it has deployed an initial batch of 63 firefighter-nurses of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to the 12 public and private hospitals in Metro Manila for the initial period of three months.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año noted the move is in response to the call of the Department of Health (DOH) for additional health workers to manage COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR).

He noted that the nurses, who came from from the different regions, “will be of great help to the hospitals in need of additional medical workforce.’’

“The BFP’s Nurse Deployment Program is a great example of bayanihan. Given the need of nurses in many hospitals in NCR, we are proud to temporarily assign our firefighter nurses to different hospitals where they are urgently needed,” Año said.

Año added that the cooperation among the DILG, BFP, DOH and the 12 hospitals is vital in the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement on the BFP’s Nurse Deployment Program on Monday.

Out of the 63 firefighter-nurses, nine will be assigned to Las Piñas Doctors Hospital in Las Piñas City; eight to MCU-FDT Medical Foundation Hospital in Caloocan City; four to San Juan Medical Center in San Juan City; six to Manila Doctors Hospital in Manila City; four to Providence Hospital in Quezon City; five to St. Clare’s Medical Center in Makati City; seven each to The Premier Medical Center and UHBI Parañaque Doctors Hospital both in Parañaque City; three each for Gen. Miguel Malvar Medical Research Foundation in Quezon City and Holylife Hospital; four to Novaliches District Hospital in Quezon City; and three to Ospital ng Tondo in Manila.

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya assured that the deployment of these nurses from the regions to NCR will not affect the fire-fighting capacity of the BFP because these nurses are part of the Emergency Medical Service of the BFP and their deployment to hospitals is merely an extension of their mandate.

“In fact, we have 5,034 registered nurses out of the 27,968 total manpower of the BFP. They are a vital human resource that we have been utilizing for COVID response since the beginning of the pandemic in swabbing, contact tracing, ambulance service, emergency response and now deployment to hospitals in need,” Malaya said.

He added that the 63 comes from a pool of 120 firefighter nurses who have volunteered to be deployed to the NCR while the rest will also be deployed in coordination with the DOH as the need arises for an initial period of three months subject to extension, if needed.

“Many of the nurses assigned to the hospitals are already dead-tired from their never ending duties since the pandemic began. The deployment of the BFP nurses will allow them to take a short break to rest and recharge,” he added.

Malaya revealed that the BFP nurses are “no ordinary nurses because they have undergone specialized training in emergency response from the DILG.’’

Under the deployment program, Malaya said the BFP will closely coordinate with the receiving hospitals regarding administrative matters.

He noted that the BFP will continue to pay their salaries and provide the transportation of nurses from the point of origin to the designated receiving hospital.

Malaya said that the receiving hospitals will orient the deployed BFP nurses of their areas of assignment and schedules, which shall be 40 hours of duty per week.

The receiving hospitals will provide for the board and lodging as well as the full meals of the BFP deployed nurses during the period of their assignment.

The DILG official noted the nurses will be vaccinated and will undergo RT-PCR tests prior, during, and post-deployment and will also be given medical assistance including admission to a hospital in case they are infected with COVID-19 during the deployment program, if warranted.

The DOH will give personal protective equipment (PPE) for the use of the nurses upon request by the receiving hospitals.

As of May 17, 2021, the country recorded 5,979 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 1,149,925.