No devolution yet for 2022 as the Department of Health (DOH) will continue to hire nurses, doctors, and other health workers under the Human Resource for Health (HRH) Deployment Program.
HRH Deployment program is the thrust of the government to deploy, redistribute, and retain health workers in the country to enhance access to quality health services. Priority areas are far-flung, geographically isolated, disadvantaged, and remote communities with inadequate health personnel.
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) submitted on Monday, August 23 the P5.024 trillion National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2022 National Budget and it included a P252.4 billion allocation for the health sector. Of the amount, P17 billion will go to the DOH HRH Program for the hiring and deployment of 26,035 health professionals to public and private hospitals in underserved areas where they are most needed.
This is slightly higher than the P16.58 budget for HRH in 2021.
In his Budget Message, President Rodrigo Duterte said that the proposed national budget for 2022 puts premium on sustaining COVID-19 response, control and mitigation.
“The emergence of more coronavirus variants, which could lead to surges in the number of cases of infection among the population, continues to threaten the recovery and stability of both our health care system and national economy. Clearly, the most pressing need is to further strengthen our health care system and safeguard our people from widespread virus transmission,” Duterte said.
In the deployment of doctors, midwives, nurses and other health-related workers, the DOH shall give priority to the following: (i) 5th and 6th class municipalities; (ii) GIDAs; (iii) IP communities; (iv) where the absolute number of poor and the incidence of poverty are high as identified in the latest official poverty statistics of the PSA; and (v) municipalities unable to achieve Human Resources for Health standards.
Aside from ‘regular’ HRH, the DOH will also hire 6,810 health workers as COVID-19 HRH. The government is alloting P3.8 billion for the hiring.
Devolution of HRH
Last June 1, Duterte issued Executive Order No. 138 implementing devolution of basic services to the local government unit (LGU) including healthcare, as mandated by Local Government Code. This is in line with the Mandanas ruling which gives LGUs higher funding by 50%.
Initially, DOH proposed a partial devolution of HRH nurses and midwives to LGUs starting 2022 but it was postponed to 2023.
“The devolution of HRH Deployment Program will not take place in 2022. Partial devolution in the recruitment and selection of nurses and midwives will be implemented in 2023 and 2024, subject to the upcoming developments in the few months with the new administration.
Only beginning CY 2023 onwards, the hiring of nurses and midwives in 1st to 4th class municipalities will be devolved to LGUs,” HRH Deployment, Region IX Facebook page announced.