NURSING EXPLOITATION ROW EXPLODES


By: Balita Pinoy


DOH probes reported exploitation of new nurses in hospitals

MANILA, Sept. 3

The Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday it will investigate the alleged exploitation of new nurses in hospitals where they are reportedly required to pay exorbitant fees for their on-the-job-trainings (OJTs).

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said he has formed a team for a focused investigation on the matter even as he admitted they have long heard about the nursing OJT racket.

However, Duque said no formal complaints on the issue reached the DOH for them to initiate an investigation.

Senator Pia Cayetano earlier called for the shutting down of government and public hospitals engaged in the alleged exploitation of new nurses.

Cayetano urged the DOH to cancel the license to operate of all medical facilities that are found to be involved in the racket.

The call was an offshoot from the expose' of Philippine Nursing Association (PNA) which bared that several hospitals only hire interns instead of permanent nurses and ask them to pay P3,000 to P3,500 for their internship fee.

Duque, meanwhile, denied that the practice is being observed in government hospitals.

The DOH chief also said he is aware that some specialty hospitals ask for standard fees for them to have a budget for nurses who would like to undergo a special training course.

For his part, Dr. Tiburcio Macias, president of the Philippine Hospitals Association (PHA), said they have not encountered such accusations of the PNA.

“We have not encountered such accusations. In fact, hospital owners and medical centers tell us that they lack nurses,” Macias said in a radio interview.

“The internship fee accusations are not true. As far as I know, during the time that a nurse will undergo OJT and are assigned to have duties in a hospital, the hospital will not charge any fee from them. It is the school that will be responsible in cases that there are damaged equipment,” he added.

Macias also cited the incidence of some student nurses who opt to get their internship certificates through flawed means instead of being assigned in hospitals located in provincial areas and municipalities.

He said he received reports that nursing students usually want their internship in hospitals located in highly-urbanized cities so they resort to such means. (PNA)

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