Fabella hospital pushes through with modernization plan

THE Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital is set to move to a new location.

This after the management of the 65-year-old maternity hospital decided to push through with the modernization plan of the Department of Health (DOH), wherein the hospital will eventually be transferred to a new building located in the nearby San Lazaro Hospital, also in Manila.

"We are just waiting for the release of the License to Operate from the Quezon City government for us to be able to transfer to the Fabella building constructed in the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP)," said Fabella Hospital Director Dr. Esmeraldo Ilem in a press conference in Manila.

"We will then transfer to the new building (in Manila) once the building there is ready for occupancy," added Ilem.

Under the plan, hospital operations in the present Fabella hospital located at the Old Bilibid Prison compound shall temporarily be transferred to the LCP as well as in other Manila-based hospitals, namely San Lazaro Hospital, Philippine General Hospital, and National Center for Geriatric Health.

This is while the six-floor building in Manila is still being constructed inside the San Lazaro Hospital compound. It is expected to be completed in May 2017.

According to Ilem, the decision was reached after the hospital management decided to set aside results of the referendum earlier ordered by Health Secretary Janette Garin.

Ilem said the referendum was shelved after hospital employees refused to make it an open voting and even sequestered the ballot box.

Subsequently, the management decided to just hold a signature campaign on who among employees support the modernization plan.

“We already submitted to the DOH a total of 600 signatures supporting the plan. We have a total of 1,200 personnel in Fabella,” said the hospital chief.

Ilem stressed, though, that the remaining 600 cannot be considered as automatically being opposed to the modernization plan as some were found to be on leave, neutral, or choosing to abstain.

To note, the DOH has long planned the modernization of the Fabella hospital, which is known as the country’s “baby factory” due to the high number babies being born in the facility on a daily basis.

The DOH reasoned that the existing Fabella building is already deemed as being “structurally unsound” as it has the potential to cause damage to life and property in the event of a major earthquake.

Civil society groups as well as several Fabella workers have protested the transfer of the hospital over fears of it being privatized, thereby resulting in costly services and causing employees to lose their jobs.

The DOH, however, have refuted such claims saying the P2 billion budget for the modernization project is sourced from the government and that workers are assured of job security since they are holding plantilla positions.

For his part, DOH Undersecretary Kenneth Go appealed to those protesting outside the Fabella compound to stop obstructing the ongoing transfer of hospital equipment.

Go said transferring the hospital equipment is necessary in order for the QC government to issue a License to Operate.

“We are appealing to your sense of propriety, sensibility, and humanitarian spirit. Let us not prevent the transfer of the hospital equipment,” said the DOH official.

He also called on those who continue to oppose the modernization plan to consider the welfare of the greater majority before their personal motives.

“Health service is for the welfare of our people. It’s not up to one single individual, who will say he is against giving the service. It’s a team effort… Health service is not something you can make a choice individually. We go where it is need,” said Go. (HDT/Sunnex)


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