Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestro Bello III wants to exempt the United Kingdom from the 5,000 annual limit on the deployment of nurses and other health workers abroad.
In an interview over ANC’s Headstart, Bello sai that he is inclined to recommend the UK exemption to the Department of Health and Inter-agency Task Force.
“I am inclined to recommend their request for exemption, but I said I have to convince the Department of Health and also the Inter-Agency Task Force [for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases,]” Bello told ANC’s Headstart.
Before doing so, he wanted to be sure that there will be enough nurses to remain in the country once the recommendation is approved. He is waiting for the data from the Philippine Nurses Association.
“I want to be very sure that if we are going to allow the exemption, we will not run out of nurses in our country,” he said.
In April last year, President Rodrigo Duterte imposed a ban on the deployment of health workers to avoid a shortage of frontline medical workers while the country is battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ban was lifted in November, but the government is only allowing 5,000 healthcare workers to leave the country.
The UK, among the countries hardest-hit by the pandemic, has asked to be exempted from this cap, but the Philippines set some conditions for this to happen.
Among these conditions is for the nurses who would be deployed to the UK to first be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I just want to be sure that if we’re going to deploy nurses, they must be vaccinated for their protection and the protection of people in the UK,” Bello said. [With reports from Philstar.com]