Naomi Elishuv plays the violin during brain surgery..
(photo credit: LIOR TZUR)
After years of discussions that began with the German Committee headed by then-health minister Yael German, the Finance and Health Ministries have agreed to spend an additional NIS 900 million to shorten waiting times in the public health system.
The money will be used to hire more physicians, provide full-time positions for public hospital doctors and increase operating room hours.
In addition, it was agreed that doctors who treat patients in public hospitals will not be able to treat or perform surgery on those patients until at least six months afterward. This measure is aimed at preventing doctors in the public system from shifting patients to their private practices, where there are much shorter waiting times.
Out-of-pocket money and supplementary and commercial health insurance are used in private hospitals by patients who do not want to wait long periods for a public hospital surgeon.
The six-month waiting period will not apply to rare surgeries that are performed on fewer than one of every 40,000 people, in-vitro fertilization, pregnancy monitoring or counseling in the field of child development.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said: “This is another step to strengthen the public health system and restrain the private system so as to improve healthcare to citizens, reduce gaps in the health sector and cut costs for patients. I am opposed to having medicine for the rich and medicine for the poor.”
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said: “This is an important step aimed at strengthening the public health system and restricting the expansion of private services at the expense of the public system.”
Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman-Tov added: “Due to the lack of resources in the public system, people turn to the private system to shorten queues. The additional resources will allow more people to receive service in the public system. We know that the quality of medicine provided in the public system generally exceeds that given in the private one.”