Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lawmaker files bill to amend Nursing Act of 2002

MANILA, Philippines – Aurora Lone District Representative Juan Edgardo Angara has filled a bill in the House of Representatives seeking to amend the Nursing Act of 2002 (RA 9173).
“The bill will expand the roles and responsibilities of nurses that focus on specialized and more advanced practice in the various health care settings and not just primary health care service,” Angara said in a press statement.
Once enacted, House Bill 5780 will allow Filipino nurses to receive a monthly salary equivalent to Salary Grade 15 in the government or about P14,000.
Presently, Filipino nurses only get paid about P5,000 to P7,000 in government and private hospitals. Those employed in small privately owned clinic are receiving P4,000.
Angara said the bill also mandates hospitals and other medical institutions to provide incentives and benefits to the nurses.
The lawmaker noted that the quantity of nurses in the country has been inversely proportional to the quality of education provided by nursing schools.
When RA 9173 was enacted into law, there were only around 251 nursing schools. Now, the country has 491 nursing schools.
From 2000 to 2010, Angara said there were about 2,668,046 enrollees in nursing schools nationwide with only 491,900 graduates and 365,625 passing the nursing licensure examinations.
The Nurse Licensure Examination (NLE) results also show an alarming decline in the annual national passing percentage. It reached an all-time low of 35.26% in December 2010 NLE with only 29,711 passes out of 84.287 examinees.
“We have an oversupply of nurses and yet we are still far from achieving the ideal nurse to patient ration of 1:4 per shift. The Philippine General Hospital has a nurse to patient ratio of 1:15-26 per shift while Davao del Sur has a province-wide ration of 1:44-45 per shift. Clearly, there is an urgent need for reforms,” Angara said.
Fines, imprisonment
The bill imposes a fine of not more than P300,000 or imprisonment of not more than six years against persons who will violate the code of ethics and public morals, professional standards and human and patients’ rights.
Under the bill, the National Nursing Career Progression Program which will be created will get the funding from the annual appropriation act, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes, the Philippine Amusement and Games Corp., and the Professional Regulation Commission.
The bill provides that foreign nurses, who are either working for a fee or for free, must get a temporary work permit from the Board of Nursing.

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