The Filipino Department of Health (DOH) has inaugurated the first Bagong Urgent Care and Ambulatory Service (BUCAS) centre in Santo Tomas, a municipality in the Philippines’ Pampanga region.

The centre will be hosted by Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital (JBLMGH) and is part of a nationwide initiative to offer equitable healthcare access to all Filipino citizens.

Its establishment also aligns with Filipino President Ferdinand R Marcos Jr’s development agenda.

According to Philippines Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa, the DOH aims to establish 28 BUCAS centres for the country’s 28 million poorest citizens by 2028.

The inauguration of the BUCAS centre coincided with a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of the JBLMGH Ambulatory and Multi-Specialty Center (JASMC) with BUCAS in San Vicente, Pampanga.

This facility is situated on 5,000m² of land in Barangay San Vicente, donated by the municipal government, which also contributed an additional two hectares for expansion.

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Santo Tomas’ new BUCAS centre will support the DOH’s vaccination efforts, providing essential vaccines for children, adolescents and adults.

The centre will focus on improving maternal healthcare and early childhood health while also providing healthcare services for combatting diseases such as tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

It will also address increasing hypertension cases by monitoring blood pressure, promoting a public health approach to diabetes, childhood obesity and ensuring early cancer detection.

In addition, the BUCAS facility will use telemedicine to allow patients to receive care from home.

It is intended to help decongest the outpatient department of JBLMGH in San Fernando, which currently serves 800 to 1,000 patients a day, beyond its daily capacity of 700 patients.

The BUCAS centre provides ambulatory day surgery procedures and offers a range of services, including general and reproductive health surgeries, ophthalmology, otorhinolaryngology, orthopaedics, maxillofacial and dental surgeries.