DOH urged to hire more than 13K health personnel

A HOUSE leader on Friday urged the Department of Health (DoH) to hire more than 13,000 in additional healthcare personnel authorized under its budget for this year.

House Assistant Majority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo said the DoH has 72,479 in permanent positions, of which 59,427 are filled, leaving a balance of 13,058.

“Since appropriations for government salaries are released in full, including those for vacant positions, the DoH should have the funds to hire additional personnel to complete its staff,” said Castelo following the continued threat of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19).

Castelo said most of the unfilled jobs are for doctors, nurses and midwives.

“We need those additional healthcare workers while we are battling the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 2,000 of our existing personnel had been infected and had been confined to quarantine facilities, though many of them are recovering from the disease,” Castelo added.

She pointed out that salaries in the bureaucracy “are now competitive and may even be better than hiring rates in the private sector.”

Castelo said the entry-level basic monthly salary for a doctor is about P52,000, while the hiring rate for a nurse is P32,000.

In hiring additional personnel, Castelo suggested that the DoH give priority to the more than 3,000 doctors and nurses who had responded to its call for volunteers when COVID-19 cases were rising and government hospitals were struggling to accommodate and treat infected patients.

“Their willingness to face risk to their own health so they could serve the country is their principal qualification to be accepted into our public healthcare system,” she said.

She said the DoH could also consider returning overseas Filipino workers who are doctors and nurses and who lost their jobs abroad due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Let us ramp up the hiring of additional healthcare personnel. Funds for salaries are meant to be spent, not saved,” she added.

Castelo has filed a bill seeking a two-month tax holiday for all workers in public and private hospitals, clinics and similar health facilities.