'Maraming pumunta na sa ibang bansa,' says St. Lukes's executive vice president Benjamin Campomanes Jr
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country, St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) is facing manpower problems worsened by resignation of its health workers.
In an interview with DZMM’s TeleRadyo on Thursday, August 26, SLMC executive vice President and chief medical officer Benjamin Campomanes Jr. said that a dwindling workforce is a problem in the hospital now.
“I’ll give you an example. From an original 66 nurses in the emergency room in [Bonifacio] Global [City], we are now down to only 43,” he said.
Campomanes added, “The reason for that is resignations. Maraming pumunta na sa ibang bansa (Many left the country for opportunities abroad).
For many years, Filipino nurses had been leaving the country after failed attempts of fighting for higher wages and better working conditions.
Aside from this, the hospital official said some of their health workers are under home quarantine after either testing positive for the virus or being directly exposed to a positive case.
“We did mass testing, and we found some asymptomatic and these asymptomatic are living with other nurses,” he said.
In a statement on Wednesday, August 25, SLMC said in a Facebook post that its COVID-19 wards and critical care units are running at full capacity.
“We kindly request those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to seek immediate care from other healthcare institutions for the meantime,” SLMC said.
This development comes as health workers, both from the public and private hospitals, are considering holding a mass protest and mass resignations over the Department of Health’s (DOH) failure to release their benefits.
The failure to ensure benefits were given to health workers partly prompted marathon congressional hearings on the DOH’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic funds.
The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) gave the DOH until August 31 to release the withheld COVID-19 benefits due medical frontliners.
Reporting by Albert Rovic Tan