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See why Philippine Govt will be sending spies as patients to public hospitals by Idowu Olabode : September 07, 2016, 08:38:37 AM
The Department of Health is considering sending out undercover patients to public hospitals to see how they are treated by government doctors and nurses, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial told legislators on Tuesday.

At the House appropriations committee hearing on the DOH’s proposed P144-billion budget for 2017, a lawmaker proposed the posting of “Bawal ang masungit” (grouches not allowed)” signs in public hospitals to remind personnel to be nice to their indigent patients.

Ubial promised to deal with ill-tempered hospital personnel after Negros Oriental Rep. Arnulfo Teves complained to her when his turn to grill the secretary came.

“Are you familiar with grumpy doctors?” Teves asked Ubial, who replied: “There are more who are kind.”

“I don’t think so, ma’am,” Teves answered.

Teves, describing himself as “very propoor,” said it was a shame that “a person who was already sick, and who was poor to top it off, gets shouted at by his doctor.”

He said he found this out after “going incognito” in a government hospital, but he did not give details.

Ubial said her department would look into it.

“In fact, I’m thinking of sending ghost clients from the DOH to go to hospitals and observe how they (doctors) behave in front of patients,” she said.

“Please put video cams on them,” Teves said.

 Health budget


The DOH’s proposed P144-billion budget includes P50 billion for insurance coverage of the poorest Filipinos and senior citizens, Ubial said. This would leave P94 billion for department services and operations.

Fresh from a trip to Cuba to study its well-known health care system, Ubial said the government would have to spend four times the current health budget to approximate the socialist model.

She noted that Cuba allocated over a fourth—28 percent—of its national budget to universal health care, but the Philippines could only allocate 6 percent of its budget for health.

Ubial said the Philippines had one doctor for every 33,000 Filipinos, while Cuba had one doctor for every 1,075 Cubans.

“We cannot produce as many doctors as Cuba,” Ubial said in response to questioning from Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque.

She also gave the committee an update on the Zika threat in the country after a 45-year-old Filipino woman in Iloilo City was confirmed on Monday to have the first domestically contracted case of the virus.

“It’s in the budget that we propose eight new quarantine stations” so we could more adequately monitor suspected cases of Zika infection, Ubial said.

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