PGH grapples with manpower shortage after 10 volunteer doctors resign

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Editor's Note: Philippine General Hospital spokesperson Jonas del Rosario later corrected his statement, saying the doctors did not resign but merely did not renew their contract.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 9) — Ten volunteer doctors resigned from the Philippine General Hospital, further worsening the shortage of medical personnel attending to COVID-19 patients, the hospital's spokesperson bared on Thursday.

PGH spokesperson Jonas del Rosario told CNN Philippines' The Source that the 10 doctors were volunteers from the Department of Health (DOH).

“Sinwelduhan po iyon ng DOH,” he added.

Del Rosario said the PGH respected their resignation, but he admitted that it was a "huge loss" to the hospital amid the rise in COVID-19 cases.

He also bared that some nurses resigned while other health workers had to undergo quarantine after getting exposed to COVID-19 patients.

Even health workers from other departments were asked to help out in treating COVID-19 patients, but it was still not enough because there were non-COVID-19 patients who also needed care.

"The director has a request that all departments should be sending out some of their residents para tumulong, all hands on deck. Kahit ‘di mo specialty ‘yan, magpapadala and that’s what’s been happening just to augment. Even with that, kapos pa rin because we have other non-COVID patients pa to take care of," Del Rosario said.

[Translation: The director has a request that all departments should be sending out some of their residents to help, all hands on deck. Even if it's not your specialty, you'll likely be sent out and that's what's been happening just to augment. Even with that, it's still not enough because we have other non-COVID-19 patients to take care of.]

Del Rosario also said that he could not tell the reason behind the resignation, but he assumed that the government's compensation did not match the workload in the hospital.

"Maybe I can just hypothesize. Maaaring napagod na din, maaaring ‘yung iba nagkakasakit, they probably look at PGH masyadong maraming trabaho. And then the truth of the matter is they probably could be earning more if they just work — less work, higher pay outside," he said.

[Translation: Maybe I can just hypothesize. Maybe they are tired, perhaps the others are getting sick, they probably look at PGH with a lot of work.]

"Ang narinig ko minsan ‘yung sweldo na ₱50,000 (I heard that a ₱50,000 salary) a month, to a lot of people that is not enough. Because if they moonlight somewhere, they can earn twice as much," he added.

PGH has reached its full capacity, with over 100 COVID-19 patients still waiting to get admitted.

Del Rosario said the hospital's emergency room has been transformed into an extended intensive care unit just to provide ventilators and oxygen to dozens of patients amid the surge.

READ: PGH now fully occupied, 100 COVID-19 patients waitlisted