PGH mirrors state of health care in the PH | Inquirer Opinion

PGH mirrors state of health care in the PH

05:02 AM July 24, 2019

In the past months, the public has seen what should’ve been unimaginable pictures of the state of health service delivery in the country’s premier tertiary hospital, the Philippine General Hospital (PGH). Sadly, what we currently see in PGH mirrors the problems of the country’s health care system.

There are several problems in our health care system, including lack of facilities, patients’ lack of trust in general practitioners and poor referral system. Some of these problems can be traced back to the introduction of a more devolved health system. There are cities that still do not have the capacity to provide efficient health care services for various reasons.


In PGH, patients were lining up even before the emergency room renovation started. The only way to decongest PGH, I suppose, is not by increasing its bed capacity but by making available the same services in all regions. But mind you, even regional hospitals cannot keep up with the influx of patients waiting for free or affordable health care.

Our referral system is a joke. It isn’t working the way it’s supposed to be. Some patients who can be treated in primary or secondary level settings immediately head to tertiary hospitals for consultation and health care. If we have proper safeguards in the system, patients who do not need highly specialized care will be treated in lower level settings.


Investing in people’s health doesn’t only include purchasing health insurance. It also points to the strong need for investment in public health and primary care, where mindset and health-seeking behavior are primarily shaped.


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