Albay solon asks DOH to issue guidelines to prevent hospital personnel shortages


An Albay lawmaker has urged the Department of Health to issue guidelines and protocols to ensure adequate hospital personnel, as the Omicron continues to cause a spike in cases and hospitalization.

Rep. Joey Salceda also appealed to the DOH to identify funding sources for public hospitals to hire additional health care workers in case all of their existing personnel have to isolate.

“The main constraining factor in hospital capacity appears to be health care workers getting infected and thus being unable to work for a few days. That’s what we’re observing in our hospitals in the 2nd district of Albay,” Salceda said, referring to his constituency.

“Omicron is definitely milder and vaccination rates have reduced the need for hospital care, but health care workers still catch the virus, and we are seeing very high positivity rates among them. That can be a problem. We have the hospital beds and the ICUs. Health care workers having to isolate is a bigger problem,” Salceda added.

He noted that so far, the DOH instruction is simply to refer to the US CDC’s guidelines on personnel management.

“The principal feature of that is shortened isolation periods for vaccinated health care workers,” Salceda added, citing Department Circular No. 2-2022 issued on January 6, 2022 by the DOH.

“We do not have anything other than those guidelines yet. We do not have guidelines yet as well on drawing out from other less constrained hospitals, or whether the public hospitals can utilize certain funds to recruit additional reserve personnel or augmentation staff,” Salceda added.

Salceda noted that, based on reports from hospitals in his district, the Omicrob variant is not as life-threatening as Delta or the other variants.

“It’s really a matter of personnel management, at this point, so we hope that the DOH can help us by releasing guidelines, identifying funding sources for HRH augmentation in extreme cases, and perhaps even in-campus dorms for healthcare workers who are afraid of infecting their own families,” Salceda appealed.