IT is good that only a few countries abroad want our skilled workers to work and live with them as contract workers. If there were many of them, we would be drained of our skilled workers because these countries pay them good salaries. This is something that is happening in other parts of the world. This is called by experts as “brain drain.”

There is for example the report the other day that there is a shortage of nurses in some areas of our region. Consequently, the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) announced its need of at least 40 additional nurses. The situation could be getting worse considering that many of our nurses have left for foreign lands in search of better life.

The ideal nurse-to-patient ratio, according to information, is around five patients to every nurse, but because 80 nurses have already left the hospital--affected clearly by the brain drain--one nurse in CCMC is now serving ten patients a day.

CCMC used to have Level III accreditation, with more than 300 beds. But after the earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol in 2013, the old CCMC building was demolished and the hospital had to relocate to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) compound, which has a limited space. The accreditation was downgraded to Level 1.

Rey Cris Panugaling, CCMC’s chief of hospital for administration, said they now want to qualify for level II accreditation and is aiming to have a 250-bed capacity. That is why they need to hire more nurses.

The Cebu City Government earlier asked the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom), which held office in a structure near the BFP compund, to transfer so that CCMC could expand. Because of CCMC’s expansion to the structure occupied by Citom, the hospital now has a bed capacity of at least 100.

“We are in the process of upgrading our status so that we can provide more services and that the patients will no longer have to go to other hospitals,” said Panugaling.

Although 80 nurses have left, Panugaling said they will only be hiring 40 nurses since they will also have an upgrading program for CCMC’s human resource. This will also cover those who have stayed in service with excellent performance. CCMC has an approved budget of P249.57 million for this year.

CCMC’s operation at the BFP and Citom compounds is a welcome development while a new hospital building is under construction. Panugaling said they will build an emergency room complex, renovate the outpatient department, improve the wards and expand the radiology section and the laboratory in their present location.

The CCMC management will give regular updates on the hospital’s development through a media forum held every other week. This will hopefully inform the public on the development or growth of the medical facility. Meanwhile, it is hoped that the hiring of more nurses will help ease the brain drain in our region.