Thousands of nurses will lose their jobs next year as the Department of Health (DOH) has allotted only 9,138 slots for them due to reduced budget.
In the 2019 proposed budget submitted by Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for deliberation in Congress, only P1.2 billion is provided for Human Resource for Health Deployment Program (HRHDP) from P9.6 billion this 2018.
DBM explained that the total HRHDP budget is really P9.0 billion, with the P7.8 billion transferred to the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF).
The department posted the following in the 2019 proposed budget document in their website:
“To ensure that adequately trained and skilled health workers are distributed throughout the archipelago, a total of PhP9.0 billion is provided for the Human Resources for Health Deployment Program of the DOH. This amount will provide accessible and quality medical services by hiring and deploying 243 doctors, 9,138 nurses, 3,650 midwives, and 241 dentists in far-flung areas, particularly in municipalities that do not have any health worker.”
That’s a big drop from the 20,527 nurses, 293 doctors, 4,000 midwives, and 324 dentists deployed to rural areas in 2018.
Senator Franklin Drilon earlier questioned the ‘deep cut’ in DOH budget and the transfer of funds of active government health personnel to MPBF, fearing it will not be released “without Malacanang’s clearance.”
“Fifteen thousand nurses and health professionals will be on the streets while we are evaluating. Can you imagine the effect of this on our 15,000 workers and their performance? What kind of planning is this?” Drilon asked.
[Related: DOH NDP 2019 nurses to get P33,584 monthly]
The limited slots for next year is expected as the DBM promised that Job Order items will be converted to permanent and contractual positions, which will give health workers benefits and other incentives.
“This will give our health professionals job security and full benefits for their service. We are doing this to be able to deliver a higher standard of health service to the Filipino people,” Secretary Diokno said.
Also, the salary of HRH workers will also increase following the fourth tranche of Salary Standardization Law which will take effect January 2019.
So with almost the same budget, we see the reasons why there will only be a few slots will be allotted for nurses and other health workers under the DOH HRHDP 2019.