PHAPI: Private hospitals in need of 50% more nurses due to brain drain

By GISELLE OMBAY,GMA Integrated News

Private hospitals in the country lack 50% of their nursing staff as many have resigned and opted for better-paying jobs elsewhere, the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) said Tuesday. 

“Noon pa…at least 40% [ang kulang]. Siguro may nadagdag pang another 10% for the past two years. Siguro mahigit sa kalahati ng talagang kailangan ang umalis na,” PHAPI president Dr. Jose Rene de Grano said in a Super Radyo dzBB interview.

He explained that this issue on the shortage of Filipino nurses actually working in hospitals limits the healthcare services that could be provided for those in need.

“We have the facility, especially sa private hospitals. Ang magiging limitasyon lang namin, nangyari na ito noong pandemic, ay ‘yung number of nurses natin. Sa kasalukuyan, maraming umaalis. Marami pa ring umaalis na nurse. ‘Yun ang magiging limitasyon ng serbisyong puwede naming ibigay sa ating mga kababayan,” he added.

(We have the facility, especially in private hospitals. Our only limitation, and this already happened during the pandemic, is our number of nurses. Currently, many nurses are still leaving. That will be the limit of the service we can provide to our countrymen.)

Even government hospitals are in need of more nurses, as Health Secretary Ted Herbosa noted there are 4,500 plantilla items for nurses currently vacant in over 70 hospitals of the Department of Health (DOH) nationwide.

De Grano said that some wards in private hospitals had to be closed due to lack of nursing staff.


“Usually ang isang nurse, ang kaya niya ngayon sa pribadong ospital ay 8 hanggang 12 [patients]. Maximum na ang 12 do’n sa tinatawag natin na toxic o sa mga wards. Kapag sa ICU or special areas, ang ratio niyan is 1:1 or 1:2,” he said.

(Usually a nurse in a private hospital can handle 8 to 12 patients in wards. In ICU or special areas, the ratio of nurse to patient is 1:1 or 1:2.)

Herbosa announced on Monday that he is planning to establish a National Nursing Advisory Council that will focus on addressing the concerns of Filipino nurses, particularly their departure for better-paying jobs abroad.

He said he would issue a department administrative order for the creation of the council with a de facto chief nursing officer who will function in a level of an undersecretary.

De Grano welcomed this development, saying that this will create a direct liaison between the DOH and concerned groups to provide solutions to problems of nurses. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News