Senator Sonny Angara has filed a bill that will give the Department of Health (DOH) the authority to increase the bed capacity of all public hospitals to address the mismatch in occupancy and improve the quality of government health services.
Under the present set-up, the department can only increase the bed capacity of DOH hospitals and upgrade their service capability through legislation, and this worries Angara because it limits access to medical and health services that every Filipino patient rightfully deserves.
“This bill seeks to authorize the DOH to administratively determine and approve the bed capacity and service capability of all DOH hospitals as necessary. The DOH has the capacity and expertise to assess gaps in service delivery,” the veteran legislator said.
Currently, there are 70 DOH-retained public hospitals, of which 53 are general hospitals, 14 are specialty hospitals, two are infirmaries and one is a psychiatric facility, which complement the devolved district, provincial, and private hospitals in providing health care services.
The seasoned lawmaker, however, noted that majority of these hospitals had bed occupancy higher than the authorized bed capacity.
“The mismatch in bed occupancy, compounded by insufficient manpower, will not be able to sustain the growing health needs of the populace,” said the youthful senator, one of the authors of the Universal Health Care Act.
He cited data by the Philippine Statistics Authority in 2015 which showed that six out of 10 deaths were not medically attended.
Residents from far-flung provinces need to travel for medical treatment purposes because of limited health services in their areas.
“Residents from far-flung provinces need to travel for medical treatment purposes because of limited health services in their areas. The influx of patients leads to longer waiting time due to lack of available space in the hospital thus delaying the treatment,” Angara lamented.
The influx of patients leads to longer waiting time due to lack of available space in the hospital thus delaying the treatment.
“Putting these government hospitals under the jurisdiction of the DOH, which manages theses hospitals in the first place, shall increase the efficiency in the delivery of health services to sustain the increasing demands of patients,” he said.