Legarda  urges bills to increase salary and benefits of doctors

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, November 13, 2010- Senator Loren Legarda said there is a need to upgrade the salary and benefits of doctors while upgrading the quality of their training as well to keep them home to avert a crisis in health care provision caused by a decrease in the enrollment of students in the field of medicine and the recent phenomenon of doctors forgoing their medical education and training in order to pursue nursing abroad.


Senate Bill No. 1395 seeks to make Filipino medical residents stay in the country in order for them to continue looking after the health of Filipinos.


“Some government and private hospitals were reportedly filling up their medical resident vacancies by hiring foreign doctors,” the Senator said.


Among its retained training and teaching hospitals, 12% of plantilla positions for medical residents remain unfilled based on Department of Health (DOH) survey where it is feared that with Filipinos opting for out-of-residency training, there will no longer be Filipino medical specialists in the future.


“Filipino doctors shift to nursing and work abroad just so they could earn larger amounts as compared to what they would earn as doctors in our country. Aside from a measly monthly salary of P19,168.00 as a Medical Officer III in government hospitals, doctors are said to be living in inhumane conditions,” she cautioned, adding that the resident doctors are the main workforce in hospitals and as such, they are sometimes on duty for three straight days, during which meals and sleep are missed. Surely, these dismal conditions make raising a family and living decently a very difficult endeavor for Filipino doctors in the country. “


Legarda ‘s Act To Manage The Residency Training in the Philippines recommends the creation of an agency attached to the Department of Health that would oversee and standardize the accreditation of specialties and sub-specialties now currently being done by societies,  and look after the welfare of medical residents by ensuring they receive a more decent salary.


Legarda is hoping that through her bill the Philippines will produce competent medical specialists who are willing to stay in the country and serve their fellow citizens. (Jason de Asis)