Lady senator urges DOH to address concerns of nurses working without proper compensation

April 24, 2012 9:51 pm 

MANILA, April 24 -– Instead of crafting another law, Senator Pia Cayetano urged the Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday to enforce its power in addressing the concerns of the new registered nurses who work without proper compensation.

”If the DOH will exercise strong hand and issue a memo that it is not allowed, there will be no need for legislation,” Cayetano said after a Senate public inquiry on House Bill No. 5445 or an Act prohibiting public and private hospitals from requiring the payment of money upon registered nurses who want to gain work experience.

Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate committee on health and demography, learned during the public hearing that DOH has not been addressing the problem properly, prompting the nurses associations and hospital groups to present their complaints before Cayetano’s committee.

”They are making us arbiter. We are here to discuss the merit of the bill. The DOH should settle this issue. The DOH has already power to close violating hospitals,” Cayetano stressed.

Cayetano said the DOH should bring the group of nurses and hospital owners to one long table to discuss the issue.

”I’m willing to mediate and help to settle their concerns if they want me to assist them,” Cayetano said.

Senator Gregorio Honasan II also offered to be a mediator to settle the concerns of nursing graduates who have been employed as "On-the-Job-Trainees (OJT)" instead of hiring them as regular employees.

The hospitals also charge the nurses additional fees for training, work experience and certification.

”The issues are too deep because it just made me aware that the real issue is that the hospitals are being made as training ground only for the nurses to leave them,” Cayetano said.

”Of course, I’m not happy about it but we have already issued a memo to the DOH on the issue of OJT but after two years, nothing happened,” she added.

Aside from the House bill, Cayetano’s committee also tackled four Senate resolutions calling for the Senate inquiries into the plight of the Filipino nurses, their work and employment conditions filed by Senators Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda.

Meanwhile, Cayetano supported House Bill No. 5622 or an Act increasing the bed capacity of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center from 350 to 500 beds.

”I think 500 is not enough. If the DOH supports this measure, we have no problem approving it in the Senate,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano vowed to sponsor the bill on the Senate plenary session. (PNA) DCT/scs/jfm

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