Man lying in a hospital bed at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem [illustrative]..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Government hospital doctors are scheduled to carry out workers’ assemblies on Wednesday to protest against the dismissal of contractor physicians in the past few months and what they see as the continuing harm to the status of Israeli doctors.
The assemblies, organized by the State Employed Physicians Organization, are set to be held at Sheba, Rambam, Wolfson, Assaf Harofeh, Barzilai, Abarbanel, Western Galilee and Poriya medical centers. They are set to take place at 1 p.m. and 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 do not receive their salaries from the Health Ministry but from organizations set up to reduce costs and the number of state employees.
Sheba Medical Center’s management is threatening to fire 30 such doctors 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 wants to put on foreigners coming to Israel for surgery and other medical treatment.
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 they now constitute between one-third to two-fifths of all physicians at Sheba, Wolfson, Rambam and Assaf Harofeh hospitals.
Dr. Nimrod Rahamimov, head of the organization, said that the doctors are faced with dismissals not because of dissatisfaction with their work but because of 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.