Citing the challenges currently being faced by the healthcare sector due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go on Saturday reiterated his call to raise the bed capacity and improve the service capabilities of public hospitals.
In a press statement, Go stressed the need for a more efficient way of enhancing the capabilities of public hospitals and empowering the Department of Health (DOH) to fulfill its mandate of improving healthcare in the country.
“Under current regulations, a DOH hospital can only increase its bed capacity and improve its service capability through legislation,” Go said.
Amid the Covid-19 crisis, the process of increasing the bed capacity and service capabilities of DOH-run hospitals should be easier and more systematic, Go said.
“Nakita naman po natin ang epekto ng Covid-19 sa buong mundo (We have seen the global impact of Covid-19). Let’s learn from this experience and create a better healthcare system for our country to better respond to these kinds of health emergencies,” he said.
Go said his Senate Bill (SB) 1226 or the proposed DOH Hospital Bed Capacity and Service Capability Rationalization Act of 2019 would give the Health department the authority to increase the bed capacity and service capability of its retained hospitals and promulgate evaluation and approval guidelines.
SB 1226, filed in December 2019, mandates DOH to develop the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan (PHFDP) which will serve as a guide to the modernization and development plans of all government health facilities.
Under the bill, the PHFDP will also allow access to capital outlay investment through the Health Facilities Enhancement Program of the DOH and other national government capital outlay investment mechanisms.
Go lamented that amid the Covid-19 outbreak, several cases of denied admission in many hospitals had been reported due to the unavailability of the necessary equipment, particularly hospital beds, because of surge capacity.
He noted that public hospitals often serve patients beyond their authorized bed capacities and are further constrained by the lack of adequate staffing, maintenance, and operating resources.
“Ayusin po natin ang proseso para matulungan ang ating mga kababayan na nangangailangang magpagamot. Kapag maayos ang kalusugan ng mga Pilipino, mas dadali ang pag-asenso ng bayan (We have to fix the process to help our fellow countrymen who need medical attention. If Filipinos are healthy, it will be easier for the country to attain progress),” Go said.
Go’s SB 1226 requires DOH to submit to Congress an annual report of hospitals with approved bed capacities, along with the necessary funding requirements. The report will be the Congress’ basis in including the funding requirements of the hospitals in the annual General Appropriations Act.
Go was saddened that amid the pandemic, several cases of hospitals allegedly refusing to admit patients have been reported.
“Panahon na para tugunan natin ang mga kakulangan sa mga ospital. Sa pamamagitan ng SB 1226, magkakaroon tayo ng pagkakataong maibigay sa mga Pilipino ang nararapat na serbisyong medikal na kailangan nila lalo na sa oras ng pandemya tulad ngayon (It’s time to address the hospitals’ failure to provide appropriate medical services. Through SB 1226, we will have a chance to give Filipinos the medical services they need, especially that there is currently a pandemic),” he said.
Meantime, Go also reminded the public to remain vigilant and follow health protocols as the country continues to fight Covid-19.
“Huwag muna po tayo maging kampante dahil habang sinusubukan nating matigil ang first wave, mas nakakatakot kung magkaroon pa ng second wave ng pagkalat ng sakit na ito. Kung hindi tayo susunod sa patakaran, mas tatagal pa lalo ang krisis (Do not be complacent because we are trying to stop the first wave. It’s more alarming if we reach the second wave of infections. If we do not follow the rules, the crisis will not end),” he said.
As of Saturday, the Philippines has recorded 13,777 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 863 deaths and 3,177 recoveries. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)