Gabriela seeks protection of nurses from exploitation

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Thursday, February 2, 2012


GABRIELA party-list Representative Emmi de Jesus wants to put a stop to the reported unscrupulous practice of many hospitals, both public and private, of using volunteerism or on-the-job training to exploit nurses.

“Our nurses have been poorly compensated, overworked and threatened of their job security. It’s about time that we enact legislation that strongly signals the state policy on the protection of nurses and other health workers,” she stressed in House Bill 5641, which she principally authored, together with other sectoral lawmakers like Representatives Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna), Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis), Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers) and Raymond Palatino (Kabataan).

Citing reports from the Philippine Nurses' Association, the lawmaker said “both government public hospitals have been gaining profit in the form of exorbitant fees collected from nurses and also saving money by not hiring regular registered nurses.”

In areas where essential health services are not accessible, the government either failed to fill up vacant plantilla positions or failed to insist on creating necessary plantilla positions that would cover the need of the community. “This gap makes nurses vulnerable to various forms of exploitation.”

As per the proposal, any registered nurse found to have been a victim of exploitative volunteerism shall be entitled to a full refund of all fees illegally collected and payment of unpaid salaries, which shall not be less than the applicable minimum wage for services rendered.

Penalties proposed to be imposed to violators range from imprisonment of not less than six months, fines worth not more than P500,000 and cancellation of the license to operate for erring hospitals and/or health care facilities.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 03, 2012.

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