Capitol’s residency program for doctors gets PB nod

The Provincial Health Office (PHO) has bolstered its efforts to ensure there will be enough doctors for Provincial Government-run hospitals when they are upgraded to Level 2 facilities.

This after the Provincial Board (PB) approved on Monday a resolution for the doctors residency training during its regular session.

The measure, endorsed by 7th district PB Member Christopher Baricuatro, authorizes Gov. Hilario P. Davide III to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) and the Department of Health for the four-year residency program of Capitol doctors.

The PHO’s move is part of the short and long term solutions to make certain that doctors in different areas of specialization are available to attend the growing needs of patients in the province-run hospitals.

“To have an impact on our health programs, we need to upgrade simultaneously key areas in human resource, facilities and equipment. And for human resource, we need to craft our own training program for long-term solution,” PHO chief Rene Catan explained to PB members.

Under the agreement, newly hired doctors of the province will be sent to VSMMC to undergo training. In return, VSMMC will deploy their resident doctors to provincial hospitals to fill in the vacant posts.

Catan said the doctors deployed by VSMMC have already underwent training for two years in their four-year residency program.

Areas of specialization in the MOA include surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, internal medicine and anesthesia.

According to Catan, VSMMC resident physicians and on-call doctors hired by the province will only provide a short-term solution to shortage of medical specialists.

“If we want doctors to work with us for good, we need to build a career path for them. Providing them with residency training until they become specialists is one of the ways to entice them to join us,” Catan said.

The province has five Level 1 hospitals and 11 primary care district hospitals. Medical facilities categorized as Level 1 are in the cities of Carcar, Danao, Bogo and in the towns of Balamban and Argao.

Last week, Davide signed the MOA for a similar program with the Region I Medical Center of Pangasinan, a sister province of Cebu.

In the R1MC agreement, Catan said, the training will be done alternately.

Capitol doctors will undergo a one-year residency training and then work for another year with PHO before they can proceed to the next stage.

Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, however, asked Catan on how they keep these doctors from leaving in case they want to quit their job after their residency.

Before they will be included in the residency program, the newly hired doctors will sign a contract that requires them to work at the provincial hospitals after completing their residency, Catan replied.

“For every year that we send them to training, they need to work with us for two years,” he said.   “This arrangement will ensure that we will have enough doctors in different areas of specialization,” he added.

As to the improvement of equipment and facilities, Catan informed the PB that PHO has already purchased some machines and equipment and more are underway.

He added that the expansion project for the Carcar City provincial hospital, a Level 1 facility, will begin soon. The project will increase the hospital’s bed capacity to 200 from only 50.

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