A bill to allow hospital physicians who want to continue working after the mandatory retirement age of 67 will be tabled on Sunday by Kadima MK Rachel Adatto as partial relief to the growing shortage of doctors.

Asked to comment, Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman told The Jerusalem Post he thought “most hospital physicians” would agree to postpone their retirement.

According to the bill, if the employer thought the 67-year-old physician was fit enough to continue working and the doctor agreed, he or she could continue until age 70. However, doctors in management positions such as department chairmen would have to forgo that position and be regular working physicians, according to the bill.

Adatto, who is a gynecologist by profession and before joining the Knesset was a senior administrator at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, will present the bill with Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee chairman MK Haim Katz (Likud).

Adatto said the shortage of physicians is one of the problems that have brought about a decline in the health system.

Instead of going into forced retirement, they can contribute their great experience in public hospitals. While the bill will not solve the shortage, it is a way to help cope with it, she said.

Some of the health funds, especially those which base their service on independent physicians, already allow them to work until age 70 if they wish.

There are 3.4 doctors per 1,000 Israeli residents, which is lower than the OECD average.

By 2020, the rate is due to drop to 2.73 per 1,000, even though a new medical school in Safed has opened and the number of medical students in the other faculties has expanded. This is due to the fact that it takes seven to 15 years to produce a trained physician.

Eidelman said that during the negotiations of the 2011 doctors’ strike, the possibility of extending service beyond retirement age was raised, but the employers did not agree because they feared more senior doctors would cost them more.

Deputy Health Minister MK Ya’acov Litzman agreed with the idea a year and a half ago and continues to do so now, the ministry said.

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