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Loren Bats for Better Pay for RP’s Medical Practitioners

February 16, 2010

LAMENTING THE UNABATED MIGRATION OF FILIPINO HEALTH WORKERS AND THE LACK OF QUALITY HEALTHCARE ESPECIALLY IN THE GRASSROOTS, SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA TODAY SAID THAT UNLESS DOCTORS AND NURSES ARE PROVIDED WITH COMPETITIVE REMUNERATIONS AND MORE HUMANE WORKING CONDITIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES, WE ARE AT RISK OF LOSING OUR MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS.
“The salaries of Filipino health workers abroad and here in the Philippines are worlds apart. Data in 2006 which considered the median payscale of 17 countries showed that doctors and nurses ABROAD earn an average of P138,000 and P38,000 respectively,” said Loren who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Demography.
She added, “Compare that with the P19,000 monthly average pay of doctors employed in the Philippines and their nursing counterparts who take a veritable starvation pay of P9,000 while being forced to take 16-hour shifts or, in some instances, even three-day shifts broken only by catnaps.”
Further, the pay of local health workers are on average even lower than those received by accountants, engineers and similar professionals at an average range of P14,000 to P24,000 a month. Among the estimated 24,700 call center workers in the country, the starting range of pay is from P10,000 to P15,000.
The senator said that the exodus of Filipino health workers can not be brushed aside as the more experienced doctors and nurses are the ones who are taken by other countries.
Loren cited that the phenomenon of local doctors studying to become nurses abroad should emphasize the wide disparity between what medical workers earn abroad and locally. A report by the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) that of its 35,000 member-doctors, at least 6,000 have already sought jobs abroad.
To be able to offer competitive salaries to local health workers, Loren said that hospitals and medical centers must practice corporate social responsibility by taking care of their own workers and not just looking at their profit margin.
“The problem is even big private hospitals in the country give their workers too little despite raking in money from their operations. This has to change if we are to entice our medical workers to stay,” said Loren.