national doctors strike (IMA) gallery_3.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday called on Prime Minister, and formal
health minister, Binyamin Netanyahu to intervene in the 129-day-old doctors’
RELATED:IMA chief announces hunger strike
to protest labor dispute
“While it is natural for the prime minister to give his
ministers freedom of action, the time has come for him to intervene,” Rivlin, a
fellow Likud MK, said at the morning’s opening of the Israel Medical Conference
organized by the Hadassah Medical Organization.
Treasury says doctors must accept
On Monday, Interior
Minister Eli Yishai of Shas made the same request to Netanyahu, who did not
Rivlin sent his greetings to Israel Medical Association
chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman, who is marching from Ramat Gan to Jerusalem. The
doctor plans to arrive in the capital on Thursday morning, to conduct a hunger
strike opposite the Prime Minister’s Office until Netanyahu
Eidelman has said Netanyahu has the power to end the labor
dispute if he finds money to add 1,000 manpower slots for doctors, reduce the
number of night and weekend shifts worked by medical residents to six monthly,
and finds ways to increase the number of doctors working in specialties with
meager medical manpower.
After being told of a survey showing that 85
percent of the public supports the doctors, Rivlin said that as Knesset speaker,
he “cannot reveal his views.” But in his short message, it became quite clear
that he thought Netanyahu should become involved in the bitter dispute over
wages, conditions of senior and junior physicians, inequity of healthcare in the
periphery, inadequate staff in certain specialties, and doctors’ use of time
clocks in hospitals.
The medical system “is in the middle of a storm, not
just another labor dispute; it is nothing less than a struggle for the public
medical system,” Rivlin declared.
“It joins other struggles that demand
the state and society to think deeply about them.
This government has
found itself with responsibility to bring solutions to a crisis that has gotten
worse for years, during the tenure of various governments.”
speaker said that while in recent years the public sector has shrunken and the
private sector has been depicted as more important for the promotion of economic
growth, both are needed, and a strong health system is necessary for the public
Later on Tuesday, meetings between IMA leaders and the
director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Eyal Gabbai, concluded without
making any progress.
Finance Ministry wage director Ilan Levin said an
accord had nearly been reached with the doctors, but the IMA added more demands
at the last minute and more-extreme young medical residents retracted
concessions they had previously made.
More than 100 residents arrived at
Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer to demonstratively sign letters of
resignation, but they have not yet been tendered to employers.
by hospital doctors will continue through Thursday.
Also on Tuesday,
senior doctors and medical residents at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon held an
hour-long march of solidarity with the IMA in the streets of the city.