EDITORIAL – Less funding for PGH
EDITORIAL – Less funding for PGH
(The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2019 - 12:00am

Visit the Philippine General Hospital at any time of the day or night, and the acute inadequacy of public health care becomes immediately evident. Even in the PGH emergency room, it’s common to see the queue of patients spilling out into the sidewalk.

In a government hospital known for top-caliber health professionals from the University of the Philippines system, patients can be seen waiting in line as early as 3 a.m., wanting to make sure that they can be attended to within the day. This is important particularly for patients who have to travel to Manila from the provinces, or for those who have to take a day off from work or school to get medical attention.

Because of the inadequacy of supplies in the PGH, doctors, nurses and even student interns often have to bring with them while on duty their own alcohol, cotton pads and other basic medical necessities. While there are wealthy health professionals and UP medical school and nursing interns, many more have limited resources.

For providing premium health care, the government should be boosting the resources of the PGH. Instead the country’s top public tertiary hospital stands to lose P400 million of its funding appropriation, from this year’s P3.2 billion to only P2.8 billion in 2020 as proposed by the Department of Budget and Management. The House of Representatives, whose members are fending off accusations that they have cornered for themselves the utilization of P100 million each in the annual appropriation, added only P200 million to the DBM proposal.

PGH administrators estimate that the hospital needs P5 billion for its current operating expenses. For optimum quality service sufficient to meet the enormous demand, PGH administrators place the annual funding requirement of the hospital at P10 billion.

The PGH can compete with the top private hospitals in the quality of its health professionals and the skilled services that they render, with the less privileged as the biggest beneficiaries. This must be complimented by a continuing upgrading of PGH facilities and other resources. The hefty funding cut will lead the PGH in the opposite direction.

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