The Palawan government’s Provincial Health Office (PHO) retrenched recently 36 contractual employees of the Northern Palawan Provincial Hospital (NPPH) in the municipality of Taytay.
The retrenchment, which was ordered effective April 2015 by Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez, was disclosed by Engineer Saylito Purisima, Executive Assistant V and Head of Programang PangImprastraktura (Infrastructure Program) under IHELP (Infrastructure, Health, Education, Livelihood, Protection of the Environment) in a phone interview Friday.
Purisima explained that the move had to be done in order for the provincial administration to complement the manpower requirement of the hospital to its present level, and to save budget for other uses.
But before the cut down on contractual health personnel at the level one NPPH, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Board Member Roseller Pineda wanted it explained further in context on April 7 at their regular session.
“Personal services in the hospitals should be saved from any retrenchment of manpower,” he said, stressing that the health component, which aims to deliver “quality and accessible medical care for Palaweños” is under the flagship program I-HELP of the Provincial Government of Palawan (PGP).
Purisima answered, “It is very true that one of his (Governor Alvarez) flagship program is health but what the governor wants to drive at is to spend government money wisely.”
He said the governor, who puts all provincial and municipal hospitals under his direct supervision, does not allow excess in manpower in any particular hospital, otherwise they would be transferred to others that lack them.
“At the NPPH, there are three medical technologists while in Coron there’s none, and they requested this medical technician to be transferred but did not agree.
We cannot, otherwise, retain the excess personnel because the governor wants to save money as far as operation is concerned,” he said.
Nonetheless, he said Alvarez will, however, support hiring of manpower at any given time provided that the demand for such spikes.
NPPH Officer-In-Charge Dr. Louie Ocampo, meanwhile, cried foul over the spate of layoffs.
“I think it is unsubstantial and illogical planning because we cannot provide anymore the quality service that we want to provide for our patients.”
Ocampo said that the NPPH now has an average occupancy rate of 54%.
“If we follow the Department of Health (DOH) recommendation, still our 199 hospital staff is just enough to run a 25-bed capacity, or 54% occupancy rate, and it is just enough in comparison with the recommendation of Dr. Zaida Cagape to trim down into 36 contractual personnel from 80,” he contested.
Dr. Zaida Reyes-Cagape, the focal person for provincial hospital operations, and is said to be the one who submitted the recommendation of retrenchments to the governor was supposed to answer the questions, but had an appointment at the DOH in Manila that day.
Ocampo furthered that to operate a 24-hour clinical laboratory and a blood station, which is required to them being personnel of the provincial hospital, there should be a functional blood station with four medical technicians to manpower complement equivalent to the latter. Obviously, there’s an excess,” he said.
But Pineda asserted that in delivering quality medical health care, the PGP must be pro-active and look beyond the present capacity of its hospitals.
Board members Winston Arzaga and Albert Rama, meanwhile, believe that in any move such as retrenchment, consultations among stakeholders are always important.
They are also hopeful that the governor would consider hiring more health personel in the future to fit the growing demand in the remote hospital. (PNA)