man in hospital bed with nurse 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Deputy Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman on Sunday expressed his support and understanding in the current nurses' strike as it joined the ongoing doctors' strike and applied sanctions simultaneously.
RELATED:Tel Aviv Labor Court delays doctors' strike sitting Nurses, seeking job slots, to join doctors in sanctions More sanctions ahead, as no progress on doctors’ dispute
As a result of the strikes, all
elective surgery except emergency and oncological surgery were shut down.
Litzman said that agreements should be respected and that the state has already approved 48 out of 84 job slots in government hospitals.
The remaining 36 slots which still need funding were being negotiated in discussions between the Finance and Health Ministries.
"I will do everything so that the agreements with the nurses will be respected," Litzman said.
Regarding doctors, Litzman said, "No one wants to be treated by a doctor who has worked 26 hours straight. I will not let negotiations between the doctors and the Treasury proceed without reducing the [shifts] to 18-20 [hours]." The number of monthly residents is also crucial to the Health Ministry and it will work in their favor as well, Litzman added.
evening, the Israel Medical Association charged that the state “backtracked” on agreements it reached on the number of
night and weekend shifts that would be required of doctors.
to square one,” it said.
On Monday, all
hospitals and community health fund clinics owned by Clalit Health Services will
strike, except for urgent cases. On Tuesday, the Sunday schedule of sanctions
except for urgent and oncological surgery will be held. On Wednesday, only
urgent and oncological operations will be held in hospitals. In addition,
hospital outpatient clinics, diagnostic clinics, psychiatric and geriatric
hospitals and day hospitals in general will shut down.
On Thursday, the
same schedule of sanctions as on Wednesday will be held.
The doctors have
been applying sanctions intermittently for two-and-a-half months, demanding a
new contract and reforms involving doctors in the periphery, residents, interns
The Nurses’ Association, a part of the Histadrut, says
its members will cut by two the number of beds in each hospital’s internal
medicine department where seriously ill patients are attached to ventilators and
thus require much more supervision and treatment. The association charges that
the Finance and Health Ministries have reneged on its agreement in January – at
the height of the flu season – to add 190 nursing slots in hospital intensive
care units. The Health Ministry has not commented, while the Treasury did not
give a clear answer.
Nurses union chief Ilana Cohen has charged that only
a handful of nurses have been added since then to the wards.
has been taken to “protect lives,” said the association, as too few nurses on
duty means too little treatment for patients.
In the agreement last
winter, the two ministries agreed that maximum capacity in internal medicine
departments would be 120 percent by the end of this year, with a further
reduction to 115% at the end of 2012 and to 110% a year thereafter.
agreed, we will not admit patients to internal medicine departments beyond these
capacity rates,” Cohen added.
The IMA has voiced its support for the
Meanwhile, Kadima MK Rachel Adatto, a gynecologist by
profession, sent a letter to Prime Minister and formally health minister
Binyamin Netanyahu to dismiss Litzman, who actually runs the ministry.
Adatto said that
Litzman’s position that residents and interns should work only 16 hours at a
time instead of the current 24 hours was “populistic” as there are not enough
doctors to actually do so. She said that Litzman “must back down or resign” if
he does not annul his statement on shifts and that he is “not connected to
“Behind the explosion in negotiations between the Treasury and
IMA on Thursday stands the baseless stubbornness of the deputy minister,” she
Litzman, who has rarely intervened during the long period of
sanctions and let the Treasury take the lead, maintained that he had reached
agreement with the Finance Ministry to allocate 160 additional slots to
government hospitals by the end of 2012 plus 100 more residents’ slots by the
end of 2013.