DOH-7 taps under board doctors to address hospital congestion
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Health officials in Cebu are planning to deploy under board doctors in an effort to decongest hospitals here amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
Dr. Jaime Bernadas, director of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH – 7), said hospitals in Cebu had been struggling due to lack of health care workers needed to attend to all patients, both in COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases.
“We are tapping under board physicians…and we will be deploying them in the hospitals,” Bernadas told reporters in a virtual press conference on Monday, June 22.
Under board physicians are doctors who have yet to take the board exams.
“But we would like to stress that once they are deployed in our hospitals, they will be under the supervision of licensed physicians,” said Bernadas.
He said they were preparing to dispatch at least 100 under board doctors, and that one hospital already requested for augmentation of their existing physicians.
Bernadas also said they had already deployed more than 50 nurses in various health facilities in Cebu since last week to address the lack of manpower.
For two weeks in June, reports of hospitals being overwhelmed by both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients circulated in social media.
These also reached national attention particularly one case involving a Briton that prompted Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro ‘Teddy’ Locsin Jr. to issue an apology to the government of the United Kingdom.
Bernadas said the recent lay-offs of health care workers in some private hospitals in Cebu before the COVID-19 pandemic in Cebu worsened contributed to the congestion being experienced presently.
“Before we got to this point, some hospitals have already laid-off their staff, including health workers, since there was a drop in their admissions,” said Bernadas in a mix of Cebuano and English.
“As a result, now that we saw a surge of COVID-19 patients needing critical care, they’re almost overwhelmed. And responding to this had become difficult (due to lack of manpower),” he added.
DOH-7 said they were still enlisting for more nurses to be sent to work in hospitals in Cebu
“Basically what we did was to redeploy them in these hospitals,” said Bernadas.
DOH-7 will be shouldering the salaries for those hired and sent for duty in hospitals and other health institutions. /dbs
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