Field Report: Philippines
Emergency medicine in the Philippines faces several challenges such as ED overcrowding, lack of coordination for inter-hospital transfers, and EMS. There is also a lack of recognition of EM as a specialty as only 11% of hospitals in the Philippines have their own emergency department. Subsequently, there are few EM residencies, and fewer trainees. There is a ratio of 1 certified emergency physician per 157,886 population. A majority of these EM-trained doctors are also practicing in the capital, Metro Manila, while a significant number are practicing abroad. Only a handful are manning EDs in the provinces.
A recent positive development in emergency medicine has been the creation of training programs in the provinces within the past five years. This has attracted local doctors with the intent of encouraging them to practice in their regions. Local government support, especially in the renovation of emergency departments and EMS/Ambulance systems, have accompanied these training programs.
Currently there are several bills for a Filipino EMS Law being considered in both the Congress and Senate. The Senate bill would create a national Emergency Medical Services System that contains provisions for an EMS system and it would institutionalize EMS as a profession.
We have also been seeing a strengthening of EM linkages with Asian neighbors. The Philippines will be hosting the EMS Asia Congress in a southern city in 2018.