A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Government hospital doctors will carry out worker assemblies on Wednesday to protest a “wave of dismissals” of “contractor physicians” during the past few months and the “continuing harm to the status of Israeli doctors.”
The meetings organized by the state hospital doctors’ union will be held at Sheba, Rambam, Wolfson, Assaf Harofeh, Barzilai, Abarbanel, Western Galilee and Poriya Medical Centers. They are expected to disrupt regular activities in the hospitals for a few hours. In October, surgeons closed down operating rooms at Sheba in similar protests.
The “contractor physicians” are paid not by the Health Ministry but by voluntary organizations set up to reduce costs and the number of state employees.
Sheba management threatens to fire 30 of them out of concern that there will be a reduction in income from medical tourism, which may get fewer patients due to a tax that the treasury (through the Arrangements Bill) wants to put on foreigners coming for surgery and other medical treatment. Doctors in other state hospitals also are worried about being dismissed, the union said.
Contractor doctors have to purchase their own professional insurance and don’t get benefits such as cheaper medical insurance and bank discounts. The number of contractors has grown in recent years and now constitutes between one-third to two-fifths of all physicians at Sheba, Wolfson, Rambam and Assaf Harofeh.
Dr. Nimrod Rahamimov, head of the union, said that the doctors are faced with dismissals not because of dissatisfaction with their work but from economic problems and that the Civil Service Commission has refused to discuss the problem with the doctors’ representatives on the grounds that they are not civil servants.