Health Ministry Director- General Prof. Ronni Gamzu will leave office after four years on June 1, the ministry spokeswoman announced on Friday.
Gamzu, a gynecologist and surgeon, lawyer, holder of a degree in business administration, researcher, and former director-general of Ichilov Hospital, did not say where he would go after leaving his post.
Health Minister Yael German has not yet decided on a replacement.
By the time Gamzu leaves, the German Committee for Strengthening the Public Health System, of which he is a member, will have completed its duties. It was decided that after he stops being director-general, he will continue to represent Israel as a member of the the health board of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Even while serving as director-general, he spent one day a week operating on women at Ichilov so as not to lose his touch in treating patients.
In an official statement, the ministry said that Gamzu prepared and applied its strategic plan for the ministry and the health system for the coming years and put stress on strengthening the public health system. He is determined to fight the trend of growing private medicine and private health insurance.
Gamzu’s eight “Pillars of Fire,” the statement went, also included reducing lack of equity in the health system, improving medical infrastructure, bolstering medical manpower, increasing computerization, and improving the level of services.
By the end of next year, over 1,000 job slots for doctors and hundreds for nurses will have been added to the public health system. He also had to cope with the long doctors’ strike, troubles at Kupat Holim Meuhedet, and a polio outbreak.
In a personal statement, Gamzu said he decided to leave after “four intensive years of hard work around the clock and after rehabilitating the ministry’s image. I leave with great satisfaction and leave behind me a strong ministry with a clear vision that its work program is ready for the next two years and that it is led by the most capable professionals.” Gamzu also thanked German for her “full cooperation and unbelievable support and from her predecessor, then deputy health minister Ya’acov Litzman.”
In turn, German called Gamzu one of the best in the public service and has unbelievable leadership abilities.”
She asked Gamzu to remain in contact and serve as her adviser even after leaving office.
Meanwhile. MK Ilan Gilon, chairman of the Knesset Health Lobby, called on German to get Gamzu to change his mind and not to leave the ministry. His leaving, he maintained, “would constitute a death blow to the health system at a time when it is in deep crisis. I have not met in all my years of activities in the field of health a person like Gamzu – a professional who is devoted to public health.”