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Philippines Nursing Shortages Looms. First of all, let me simplify things. I pose this question. Would you take a job that offers almost double your current salary? Job requirements are the same. Seems like most of us would, right? So can you blame nurses in the Philippines if they go to a position where their current starting salary of 25,000 pesos a month increases to 45,000 pesos? Of course not.

The Bacon without the Sizzle

Hospitals in the Philippines operated by local government units, LGUs, pay nurses the equivalent of 500 US dollars a month.

However, healthcare facilities run by the Department of Health, DOH, offer a starting salary of 900 US dollars a month. President Duterte issued amendments to Executive Order 201, which scheduled the fourth installment of adjustments under the salary standardization law on Jan. 1, 2019. These amendments evidently benefited DOH healthcare workers.

In contrast, the average monthly salary of a registered nurse in the USA is a little over 6,100 US dollars. That’s about an astonishing 305,000 Philippine pesos a month! As a result, many Filipino nurses go abroad to work.

Photo credit: Pixabay

In the Philippines, as of 2016, there were around 500, 000 registered nurses.

Locally employed: 38,000. Working abroad: about 200,000. Another 200,000 nurses were unemployed or under-employed.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Furthermore, under Republic Act  9173, or the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, nurses in state hospitals should hold Salary Grade 15. This pay grade is P30,531 a month.

However, the Department of Budget and Management fixes the nurses’ compensation at Salary Grade 11. That pay grade is P20,754.  Hence, this is almost P10,000 less than what they should be getting.

Above all, the inadequacy of pay is further aggravated.  The non-implementation of the law granting nurses additional benefits, like overtime pay, hazard pay, call pay, and night shift differential is largely ignored.

Philippines Nursing Shortages Looms

A lack of nurses in many hospitals may force the hospitals’ closure. That’s according to Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte in a report from The Manila Standard.

“The DOH must stop pirating nurses working in hospitals run by local government units (LGUs) to join an apparently flawed national recruitment program ostensibly aimed at deploying health professionals to geographically isolated and poor communities across the country,” Villafuerte said.

Villafuerte complained the DOH’s “pirating” strategy could weaken the effective implementation of the Universal Health Care program.

Hence, the problems, if left uncorrected, will worsen according to Villafuerte.

Under the K-12 program, which has added two years to the basic education curriculum, the production of new nurses has been delayed. Secondary students are spending two more years in high school.

Villafuerte cited, for instance, the case of CamSur. Nurses have started leaving LGU-run hospitals in droves to transfer to the Bicol Medical Center in Naga City. Furthermore, the DOH-managed medical center has reportedly  just opened 800 positions for nurses.

Where will LGUs get new nurses for their small hospitals now that their existing ones are darting off to DOH-managed facilities? Villafuerte said.

Good question.

(Lead photo credit: Pixabay)

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