Following an intense discussion that ran into the night, negotiations failed between representatives from the Ministry of Finance and the Israeli Medical Association. Hospitals will operate according to Sabbath and only emergency operations will take place. The Labor Court ordered Hadassah doctors to return to work at 10:00 am.
Illustration Yaakov Naomi, Flash 90/ Channel 2 News
At the end of the heated discussions that continued until the late hours of the night (Thursday), representatives from the Ministry of Finance and Health and representatives from the Israeli Medical Association weren’t able to reach agreements. Due to this, starting from the morning there will be a strike in all public hospitals across the country. Hospitals will operate according to Sabbath and non-urgent surgeries will be canceled.
However, doctors will work today as usual at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, following the Jerusalem Regional Labor Court’s decision ordering them to return to work from 10:00. The decision was made following hospital management’s request.
The Israeli Medical Association declared a strike due to doctors claiming a budget shortage for cutting queues, in addition to Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman’s intention to legislate disciplinary punishment against hospital directors who exceed their budget. The expected strike is likely to create a great strain on the hospitals, who are already very busy.
In an interview this morning, Health Minister Litzman stated, “It’s hard to shake the feeling that motives that aren’t in the public’s best interest led to a decision to strike at all costs. This is an unnecessary strike.”
Managing Director of Hadassah Medical Center, Prof. Zeev Rotstein, who worked to prevent the strike, stated that the hospital which he is in charge of filed for an injunction against the strike to the National Labor Court in order to continue with necessary medical treatment. “In our opinion, there are no grounds for a strike that justify harming patients,” he stated.
Illustration Andrey Malov, 123rf.com/ Channel 2 News
Israel Medical Association members held a press conference yesterday explaining the reasons for the strike. “Our battle isn’t about doctors’ salaries,” said the chairman of the Israel Medical Association Dr. Leonid Eidelman. “It is about the development of the healthcare system, the intake of new doctors, doctors’ quotas, and shortening queues. The Law of Arrangements is continuing the trend of cutting back on the health of the country’s residents. Already, patients are paying more and receiving less. As a result of what is happening to the health care system, doctors can’t give the treatment we want to give. And patients? They pay more and wait longer in queues. The situation is intolerable.”
“This is an unnecessary strike.” Litzman Channel 2 News