MANILA – The deployment cap on healthcare workers is in place to prevent a shortage of healthcare workers in the country, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after private hospitals expressed alarm over the increasing departure of local nurses for other opportunities abroad, taking a bigger toll on the struggling workforce in the country’s hospitals.
“Hindi naman nagbabago ang ating polisiya. Mayroon po tayong [deployment] cap (We have not changed our policy. We have a cap),” he said in a Palace press briefing.
In April last year, the government suspended the deployment of healthcare workers to prevent a shortage of frontline medical workers.
The government eventually set a 5,000 annual deployment cap with newly hired healthcare workers for mission critical skills.
The ceiling was raised to 6,500 in June this year amid calls for the government to allow more healthcare workers to be deployed overseas.
Roque also expressed confidence that there are many graduates willing to serve at the frontline in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Naniniwala naman po tayo na mayroon tayong sapat na graduates at mga board passers para palitan po yung mga puwesto ng mga nurses na mag-a-abroad (We believe that we have enough graduates and board passers to take the place of nurses who have chosen to work abroad),” he added.
In the Laging Handa briefing, Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines president Jose Rene de Grano said about 5 to 10 percent of nurses have resigned in recent weeks to work abroad.
He also expressed concern that their continued departure could eventually paralyze the ability of medical centers to care for patients.
“If we don’t stop their departure, maybe in another six months we might run out of nurses and our health facilities and healthcare system will be crippled,” de Grano said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the health department to prioritize the release of benefits for the country’s healthcare workers. (PNA)