Philippine General Hospital (PGH) now operates  beyond its capacity with 200 more Covid patients  awaiting admission.  

Only  five of the 25 DOH volunteer doctors remain as  their colleagues opted not to renew their contracts, PGH spokesperson Dr. Jonas Del Rosario said on September 13.

Del Rosario said PGH, one of the country’s premier referral facilities, has about 320  beds allotted for Covid-19 patients.

“We are beyond our capacity of 310 in-hospital patients, and about 40 patients in ER waiting, so that’s pretty much 350 out of 320. We’re 30 patients above our threshold,” related Del Rosario.

“And then there are about 200 patients waiting in the wings wanting to be admitted, waiting to be transferred to PGH,” he also told ABS-CBN News Channel in an interview. 

He admitted that it is “impossible” to admit all of these patients on the waitlist since many of the COVID-19 patients currently admitted are severe to critical cases that “require longer days to be in the hospital.”

He said PGH is also facing a staff shortage after some of the DOH volunteer doctors left. He cited the need for additional doctors to attend to patients who contracted the coronavirus disease. 

According to Del Rosario, they are hiring right and they were even trying to get private practitioners to  help augment their  manpower.

“It’s so hard to open up more beds, more wards if you do not have the right doctors to take care of them. A lot of our patients are severely ill so they really demand specialists, not just general doctors,” stressed Del Rosario.

Del Rosario said the doctors who left PGH were volunteer doctors assigned to Covid-19 patients. 

“They did not renew (their contracts). Over the course of a year,” he said. He said some  did not renew their contracts because they wanted to pursue their subspecialty training.

“They were a big help, these DOH volunteers. We had 25 over the course of a year. We are grateful for these DOH volunteers. These are mostly general medical doctors who volunteered and they got salary from DOH. Over the course of a year, maybe they already had other plans,” said Del Rosario.

Because or the lack of staff, he  said the PGH has employed “task-sharing” among departments, with Director Dr. Gap Legaspi asking for more residents to be sent to the Internal Medicine Department, which mainly handles coronavirus patients.

“Indeed, we feel the problem on manpower. A lot of our healthcare workers are getting sick also. Many  are sick and some are also exposed to the virus so they have to undergo the mandatory quarantine,” he also said.