Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo has urged the chiefs of government hospitals in Negros Oriental to strengthen the referral system to address the growing congestion problem at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH) in Dumaguete City. 

In a meeting with the hospital chiefs held Sept. 20, the governor instructed the chiefs of the seven district hospitals here to refrain from referring patients to NOPH if they can handle the needed medical procedure in their hospital.

The move is aimed at reducing the volume of patients flocking to the overcrowded NOPH in Dumaguete City. 

 “It has been observed that one of the reasons for the congestion problem at NOPH is the influx of patients from other towns and cities seeking medical services which the district hospital in their area can handle,” said Capitol Information Officer Adrian Sedillo in an interview with Philippine Information Agency. 

District hospitals are capable of handling secondary and primary health services such as caesarean and normal birth delivery or appendectomy, said Sedillo. 

Gov. Degamo, however, clarified during the meeting that NOPH would not turn away any patient seeking medical care, even if they come from an area where there is a district hospital that can treat them. 

NOPH is a Tertiary Level 1 government-run hospital located in Dumaguete City, the capital city of Negros Oriental, with a 250-bed capacity. 

However, in the past years, the hospital has been treating patients more than its capacity. Quoting figures given by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Felix Sy, in-charge of NOPH operations, Sedillo said NOPH handles an average of up to 350 patients per day. 

“This is based on their admission records. Dr. Sy said that it can even go up to 500 patients at one given time,” he said. 

The congestion problem has worsened recently with the ongoing construction work for the new Central Block section, which has affected some portions of the NOPH main building. 

The doctors also agreed during said meeting to rotate the four anesthesiologists of NOPH among the seven district hospitals in Bayawan City, Siaton, Bindoy, Guihulngan, Canlaon City, Bais City and Mabinay. 

Private consultants at NOPH were also advised to refrain from bringing their patients to the hospital especially for cases requiring surgeries. 

Sedillo said the governor also instructed Dr. Sy to closely monitor the daily influx of patients at NOPH to check if the improved referral system has led to their desired result of decongesting said hospital’s patient admissions.

Hospital records show that around 40% of the patients admitted at NOPH come from Dumaguete City, 10% from other provinces and the rest from other towns and cities in Negros Oriental.

Gov. Degamo also sought the cooperation of local chief executives who, Sedillo said, are directly involved in the management of the district hospitals in the province under the district health system. (RMN/PIA Negros Oriental)