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 Department of Health 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,” Angara said.
Currently there are 70 DOH-retained public hospitals, of which 53 are general hospitals, 14 specialty hospitals, two infirmaries and one psychiatric facility which complement the devolved district, provincial and private hospitals in providing health care services.
Angara, 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 Angara, one of the authors of the Universal Health Care Act.
Angara 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. The influx of patients leads to longer waiting time due to lack of available space in the hospital thus delaying the treatment,” he lamented.
“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,” Angara said. [via Senate website]