LOW pay and poor working conditions have forced most doctors of the government owned JR Borja Memorial City Hospital to tender their resignations, a hospital insider said.
A city hospital physician, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the doctors resigned as a group as a statement to City Hall that they had lost confidence on the way things are going at the hospital.
Already saddled with patient overload, JR Borja doctors have to contend with lack of medicines and adequate facilities.
Doctors are also inadequately paid compared to other public hospitals, the source said, but clarified that this was not the main reason for the exodus.
The last straw came when City Hall itself scuttled the planned annexation of the City Hospital to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC).
Had the plan been realized, it would have would have placed the smaller city-run hospital under the national government, increasing its funding along with the salary of the personnel.
“After that nawad-an na sila og gana. Ingon sila wala gyuy mahitabo ini nga ospital(They just lost hope after that. They said nothing good would come out if they stay in the hospital),” the doctor said.
The source said other doctors like him had also planned to quit, but opted to stay hoping “things will change so soon.” Foremost, the physician said he and his colleagues are hoping that City Hall will reconsider its position on the hospital’s conversion into a national medical facility.
A number of City Hall officials confirmed Monday’s resignations of at least 13 doctors. The City Hospital has 31 doctors in its plantilla.
However, officials could not agree what made the doctors quit.
Cagayan de Oro Councilor Dante Pajo, chair of the committee on health and social service, attributed the doctors’ exodus to “conflict of scheduling in their duty hours.”
Most the doctors who resigned had wanted to work for two straight days to cover the mandated 40 or so duty hours and then avail of five days off, Pajo said.
“Nangbalhin ang mga doctors kay nangita’g more lenient working hours siguro. They are all good doctors but we can’t prevent them from transferring,” Pajo said.
But the councilor said the government hospitals can’t bend work schedules to give doctors “lenient schedules.”
“Doctors are obliged to work eight-hour shifts every day. That’s the way government hospitals work because we are in public health service,” he said.
However, City Information Officer Erwin Culanag said most of those who tendered their resignations had said they wanted to “seek greener pastures.”
“Ang sweldo daw ang rason, ubos ra daw para sa ila,” Culanag told Sun.Star, citing his conversation with Dr. Philip Medalle, acting chief of hospital.
Pajo said doctors from the City Health Office (CHO) had been ordered to temporarily cover the night shifts to cover the staff shortage.
Human Resource Department Head Adriano Lumagsao, Jr. said his office had yet to receive copies of the names of the doctors who resigned.
The staff shortage has taken a toll on the services of the hospital, which already has shortened its consultation hours.
City Hall had earlier rejected a bill authored by 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez seeking the integration of the rundown JR Borja Memorial City Hospital to the better-equipped NMMC.
House Bill 239 provides “for the upgrade and modernization of the J.R. Borja City Memorial Hospital as an extension hospital of the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro and appropriating funds therefore.”
The bill is co-authored by 1st district Rep. Rolando Uy.