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Sheba opposes ruling against private midwives
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
02/28/2013
Prof. Ze’ev Rotstein opposes Health Ministry adviser’s ruling against private midwives in state hospitals.
 
The Health Ministry’s legal adviser, Mira Huebner, has aroused the wrath of Prof. Ze’ev Rotstein, the powerful director- general of the state-owned Sheba Medical Center – the country’s largest hospital – by stating that hiring a private midwife in a state-owned public hospital is forbidden.

Huebner issued her statement on Wednesday to heads of all government-owned hospitals, stating that these hospitals’ websites and publications have offered patients the opportunity to pay a fee to hire a private midwife, instead of just using the midwife who is on-duty when labor becomes intense. It is illegal, ruled Huebner, for patients in government hospitals or jointly owned government/ municipal hospitals to get preferential care via payment.

Shortly after Huebner issued her ruling, Rotstein stated: “Again, we are witnessing harm caused to public medicine, this time from the ministry’s legal adviser.”

He noted that at Sheba, there is presently no private midwife service, but complained: “Isn’t it enough that midwife/nurses are collapsing from overwork? Isn’t enough that medical errors cannot be prevented under these conditions?” Rotstein argued that such private services ease the burden on midwives who are hospital employees.

The ministry’s director-general, Prof. Ronni Gamzu, said Rotstein – who is accountable to Gamzu – and Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman “must get involved to prevent addition and senseless harm to new mothers.”
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