Department of Health (DOH) pointed to the pending release of 2019 national budget for the delayed salaries and deployment of nurses and other health workers.
The health department released a statement on Friday, March 1, after receiving numerous complaints from nurses employed under Nurse Deployment Project (NDP), one of the cadres in the DOH Human Resource for Health Deployment Program (HRHDP).
The said program deploys Rural Health Doctors, Public Health Nurses, Rural Health Midwives, Dentists, Medical Technologists, Pharmacists, Nutritionist-dieticians and other health workers to rural areas and other poor communities all over the country.
Around 900 nurses in Bicol region complained that they have not received their salaries since November 2018. Health workers under the HRHDP from other regions echo the same situation.
Most of them are also waiting for deployment in April as only a few were hired for months of February and March due to unavailability of funds.
- UHC needs 26,000 health workers, including 17,000 nurses
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In the statement, DOH promised that once the budget is approved and released, they will hire 26,000 health workers under HRHDP, 17,205 of which are nurses.
“They will receive full benefits similar to the benefits of a permanent employee,” DOH added.
Here’s the full text of DOH statement:
Official Statement on the delayed salaries and deployment of public health nurses
The Department of Health (DOH) is aware of the issues regarding delayed salaries and deployment of our health workers. There are several external factors contributing to the delays – one of which is the pending release of the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA) yet to be approved by Congress.
We assure our dedicated health workers our support and that steps are being taken into resolving this collaboratively with other concerned government offices and local government units (LGUs).
We recognize that our health workers are the backbone of a strong health system. They are important in realizing Universal Health Care. There are gaps that clearly need to be addressed and we want to start building the health reforms that we need through the UHC law.
Upon the release of the GAA, approximately 26,000 Human Resource for Health (HRH) in different cadres, including Rural Health Doctors, Public Health Nurses, Rural Health Midwives, Dentists, Medical Technologists, Pharmacists, Nutritionist-dieticians and other health workers under the HRH Deployment Program will be hired.
Of this, 17,205 positions will be dedicated to nurses. They will receive full benefits similar to the benefits of a permanent employee, a policy that the DOH has actively pushed for.
This is our direct response to the need to augment health workers, but we would like to reiterate that the HRH program only works with the strong support of the LGUs.
As we always say, health is everybody’s responsibility and collectively, we can build a health system where no Filipino is left behind.
In the 2019 GAA approved by Senate and House bicameral committee and forwarded to President Rodrigo Duterte for signing, around P4.8 billion was restored to complete the P7 billion requirement of DOH for HRH deployment program.