IMA claims ‘incitement against doctors’ by Treasury

Levine said doctors’ strike was “immoral” and called them “killers and murderers” who would be to blame if patients died due to lack of care.

May 2, 2011 00:04
2 minute read.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Ilan Levin

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Ilan Levin 311. (photo credit: Yael Simhon)

The “bad blood” between the Treasury and the Israel Medical Association was on display on Sunday as the doctors’ union filed a complaint to the Civil Service Commission against Finance Ministry wage chief Ilan Levine for allegedly comparing doctors to perpetrators of killing and murder in an Army Radio interview last week.

Levine was heard to say the doctors’ strike was “immoral” and called them “killers and murderers” who would be to blame if patients died due to lack of care.

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The doctors have treated as usual all patients in life-threatening situations, even on days of serious sanctions, with special doctors’ committees to examine all unusual cases not coming under the criteria for exemptions.

The IMA said Levine had incited to violence against the physicians, “who are devoted to people and save lives every day.”

As the association had demanded apology but not received one, it went to the Civil Service Commission, which is responsible for public workers such as those in the Treasury.

The IMA is resuming sanctions over the crisis in the public health system and its demands for a 50 percent increase in physicians’ wages on Tuesday, when the public hospitals, including outpatient clinics, will suffer from a general strike on a restricted Shabbat schedule. More will follow this week and the next. The IMA said its representatives would not sit with Levine until he retracted his statement.

The Finance Ministry issued a statement on Sunday commenting on the complaint to the commission, saying that “the IMA continues not to tell the truth. Instead of sitting and discussing the issues with the Treasury team to find a solution to the real problems of the health system, the IMA is busy sending letters. It is an addition attempt to mislead the public and divert the discussion.

It is clear to all that the Treasury is acting to bring about an end to the strike and that it is interested only in the good of the public.”

The ministry concluded that “the IMA’s refusal to climb down from the high tree on which it has climbed and to approve the punching of a time clock by all doctors is incomprehensible to the public, who understand that it is not realistic.”

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