PGH struggles with manpower shortage as volunteer doctors opt not to renew contracts

Published September 13, 2021, 11:30 AM

by Jaleen Ramos

The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) is grappling with manpower shortage amid a surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients, its spokesperson said Monday, Sept 13.


In an interview with DZMM Teleradyo, PGH spokesperson Dr. Jonas Del Rosario said the manpower problem was worsened by volunteer doctors who decided not to renew their contracts.

“Ito po’y mga doctor na na-empleyo ng Department of Health (DOH), mga tawag po namin sa kanila mga DOH volunteers. Ang original po na nagpunta sa PGH at tumulong, mga 25 po sila. As of today, ang alam ko po ay lima na lang po ang natitira (These are doctors employed by the DOH, we call them DOH volunteers. The original who went to PGH and helped, there were about 25 of them. As of today, all I know is that there are only five left,” he said.

“Iba ibang time po sila hindi nag-renew, hindi po isang bagsakan ito, over the course na isang taon na rin, may iba po na hindi na nag-renew (They did not renew in different times, it was not sudden. Over the course that it’s been a year, there are others who have not renewed),” Del Rosario added.

The hospital said some volunteer doctors had quit to pursue their subspecialty.

Aside from this, Del Rosario also said some of their health workers are getting sick, while some have to undergo mandatory quarantine after being exposed to the deadly virus.

“Talagang nararamdaman namin yung problema namin sa manpower (We really feel the problem on manpower). A lot of our healthcare workers are getting sick also. Marami na ring pagod at (many are sick and) some are also exposed to the virus so they have to undergo the mandatory quarantine,” Del Rosario said in a separate interview with ANC’s Headstart on Monday.

“They have been helping us for almost a year. So if you will take this into account and a lot of patients are coming in, we’re operating on full capacity, talagang naii-stretch out yung aming manpower (our manpower is really being stretched out),” he added.

Del Rosario said PGH is now already operating beyond its capacity with 310 patients occupying beds and 40 more waiting in the emergency room. “It’s so hard to open up new beds, new wards if we do not have the right doctors to take care of them,” he said.

The hospital also had to implement “task-sharing” among departments to be able to accept more COVID-19 patients, he noted.

Meanwhile, Del Rosario said the PGH is currently hiring doctors and that the DOH is “willing to pay for any takers.”

He then appealed that the department should increase the salary offer to be able to invite them to take the job.

“They are doing extra work. Sabi nga ng iba, buwis buhay yung ginagawa nila (As some say, they are putting their lives on the line). They really want them to be compensated and you hear stories na even the basic hazard pay, their special risk allowances delayed pa,” he said.

“I think bottomline is at least taasan mo man lang yung suweldo (increase the salary) for now, nitong during the pandemic,” Del Rosario added.

On Sept. 12, the country recorded 21,411 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the national total to 2,227,367.