Over 200,000 registered nurses are jobless as the Aquino administration failed to increase the number of nurses in the government hospitals.
Gloria Amariego, chief nurse at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), said the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) have been urging the Aquino administration through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to increase the number of nurses not only in PGH but in all government hospitals in the country so that the practicing nurses could work with quality on their patients.
Unfortunately, DBM Sec. Florencio “Butch” Abad never considered PNA’s request, Amariego said.
She said the present practice is that each nurse is taking care of around 30 patients or more per duty.
The ideal ratio for the nurse to ensure quality and safe care for their patients should be 1 nurse per 12 patients, she stressed.
The more than 200,000 registered nurses are working different jobs far from health work according to PNA data.
PNA said there are 500,000 registered nurses who are working both in the government and private hospitals.
The problem is majority of them if not all are receiving low monthly salary, according to PNA president Paulita Cruz.
Cruz said even the nurses in the government hospitals are receiving a maximum of P18,000 per month, which is under the category of Salary Grade 11.
That is lower than SG 15 or more than P24,000 as stipulated in Republic Act 9173 otherwise known as Philippine Nursing Act.
The RA 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers has pegged that the starting pay of nurses in the government hospitals must be around P26,000.
A proposed law called Comprehensive Nursing Act has covered that nurses at private hospitals also receive the starting salary of more than P26,000 like their counterparts in the government hospitals.
The proposed law has been gathering dust at the Philippine Senate where Senate President Franklin Drilon has to affix his signature so that it will be transferred to the Bicameral Conference Committee for final approval. Pres. Aquino will have to give his approval for it to become a law before he steps down on June 30.
While it true that the PNA has been prodding Congress to pass the proposed Comprehensive Nursing Law, the group is extremely disappointed for the failure of the government to abide and implement both RA 7305 and RA 9173.
PNA is hoping that the proposed Comprehensive Nursing Law will be become a law before Aquino ends his term, Cruz said.
At the same time, PNA is also hoping that the incoming Duterte administration will finally implement RAs 7305 and 9173.
NELSON c. BADILLA