Health workers hit DOH budget slash

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The Filipino Nurses United (FNU), along with other health organizations and hospital union, expressed strong opposition to the proposed budget cuts of Department of Health’s (DOH) retained hospitals and government-owned and -controlled corporate health facilities.

“We, along with other health organizations and hospital union, strongly protest this proposed budget for not being responsive to the people’s health needs amid intensifying inflation and poverty,” FNU said in a statement issued on Thursday.

The group also assailed the huge budget cut intended for the vital public health programs, such as disease surveillance, tuberculosis and prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases programs.

“Instead of slashing the national health budget by a whopping P13.9 billion we challenge this administration to junk the proposed P10 billion for anomalous confidential and intelligence programs and rechannel this for essential social services.

Best even to allocate 10 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product) for health services to reflect what PBBM claims as a “pro-active, resilient” national budget for the Filipino people,” they said.

They stressed that the proposed budget cuts would mean less access to essential health services.

“That will be worse because there is no provision for hiring of additional health human resource, notably nurses, given the serious understaffing in public hospitals and even in private health facilities,” they said.

They noted there is no allocation for nurses’ salary upgrade and even for the regularization of contractual nurses, many of whom have long-served the public, especially during the pandemic. 

“As a matter of right, the Filipino people deserve free, quality health care. But this proposed budget makes it nearly impossible with its obvious callousness to the people ’s health needs as well as the nurses’ welfare confronted with acute understaffing and starvation wages,” the FNU said.    

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