After 137 days of a bitter labor dispute between the Treasury and the Israel Medical Association and a 10-day hunger strike by IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman, a breakthrough was reached in negotiations on Wednesday night that enabled the hungry physician to eat again.
For the first time, the two sides issued a terse joint statement saying that 1,000 extra job slots for physicians will be allocated to the public hospitals. In addition, the number of night and weekend shifts of 26 hours in a row will be reduced to six per month. This process would "begin immediately and be spread over the next two years," it added.The joint statement also reported that funds would be allocated "immediately" to make grants of "up to NIS 300,000" per physician who agrees to work in the periphery of the country and in medical professions in which manpower is scarce. There was no mention of whether doctors who are already living and working in hospitals and clinics in the periphery would be compensated as well.