A nurses group on Friday urged mass hiring of health workers amid the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant, noting that hospitals have increased their COVID-19 bed capacity to prepare for a possible surge but remain understaffed.
Filipino Nurses United (FNU) said the government’s assurance that it has prepared for a surge in cases “is a complete denial of the reality on the ground.”
The group said a random survey it conducted found that most government hospitals have a shortage of 40 to 50 nurses based on bed capacity.
“The increased bed capacity should be matched with corresponding increase in health staff,” it said in a statement. “The hospitals and health care facilities, stretched to the limits, remain understaffed, with private hospitals reaching critical level.”
“Government hospitals that have been chronically understaffed even before the pandemic have increased bed capacities to accommodate the surge of patients, yet not addressing the shortage of health personnel, especially nurses,” it added.
The government earlier decided to place Metro Manila under the strictest lockdown classification from August 6 to 20 to curb the spread of the Delta variant.
The Philippines has so far detected 216 Delta cases.
“[The] reimposition of lockdown would be a total repeat of the failure of last year and would be ineffective without strengthening the public health care system, basic public health measures and economic support for our people,” FNU stressed.
GMA News Online has sought the Department of Health (DOH) for comment but has yet to receive a response.
The DOH previously said its emergency hiring of health workers is not just for augmenting the workforce of hospitals but also of vaccination sites and temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, among other health facilities.—AOL, GMA News