DOH seeks to narrow pay gap of health workers, stem exodus

The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday exhorted Congress anew to work on the amendment of Republic Act No. 7305 or Magna Carta of Public Health Workers to include health workers in private hospitals nationwide.

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire stressed the need to standardize the salary and benefits of health workers in a bid to halt their exodus.

Earlier, the DOH said the country needs 106,000 nurses both in public and private facilities and hospitals.

The health workers also appealed for higher pay to help them cope with the high cost of living.

“Right now we are trying to analyze the entirety of the situation. So ang unang una natin tinitignan, tama, yung salaries kasi may major difference between the public and private,” Vergeire said in a news briefing.

“That is why we are now proposing a bill in Congress, where in we are going to implement our Magna Carta to amend [and] cover both public and private workers kasi ngayon yung Magna Carta public lang siya,” she added.

The DOH official continued, “There will be standardization of salaries so ibig sabihin kung ano ang natatanggap ngayon ng government workers would also be received by the private workers. Kasi ngayon malaki ang discrepancy, that is why there are now reports na maraming nagmi-migrate internally from the private facilities to the public facilities because of this difference in salary,” she added.

Vergeire recognized the difference between the salaries and benefits in the public and private healthcare hospitals and facilities.

Under the Republic Act No. 7305, which was enacted on March 26, 1992, public healthcare workers are also entitled to other benefits such as additional compensation, hazard, subsistence, laundry, and remote assignment allowances.

It stated that public healthcare workers who will work overtime shall be paid additional compensation and night shift differential of 10%.

Public health workers who are on tour of duty and those who, because of unavoidable circumstances are forced to stay in the hospital, sanitaria or health infirmary premises shall also be entitled to free living quarters within the hospital, sanitarium or health infirmary.

Meanwhile, compulsory medical examination shall be provided free of charge to all public health workers before entering the service in government or its subdivisions and shall be repeated once a year during the tenure of employment of all public health workers.

The DOH official, however, said these will still not address the entire problem with the country’s workforce.

She said the DOH will meet with the Department of Migrant Workers to discuss the “mutually recognized agreements” with other countries.

“It is not really that we are going to have isa lang [para] ma-address [ang] entirety ng problema, maraming reporma ang kailangang gawin hindi lang DOH, katulong natin dito all other agencies concerned,” she added.

Apart from the shortage of nurses, Vergeire said the country also has a shortage of 67,000 physicians; 6,000 pharmacists; 5,500 radiologic technologists; 4,400 medical technologists; 1,600 nutritionists; 700 midwives; 223 physical therapists; and 87 dentists.–LDF, GMA News

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