Although by Monday evening, no agreement had been reached between the Treasury and the Nurses’ Union about overcrowded hospital internal medicine departments and inadequate staffing, the one-day "warning strike" the nurses held was set to ends at 7 a.m Tuesday morning.
Although there was a good atmosphere during the 14 hours of non-stop negotiations that ended on Monday morning followed by more in the afternoon and evening, the two sides hadn’t reached agreement. This was mostly due to the Finance Ministry’s demand for "industrial quiet" until the next group contract is negotiated. The Health and Finance Ministries have agreed in principle that "incentives" are needed to bring more nurses into the public healthcare system, which cannot function without them.
Union chief Ilana Cohen said that over 500 internal medicine beds have be closed in hospitals around the country in recent years due to the shortage of working nurses. Some have left the profession or gone into private healthcare because of the heavy burden of caring for patients.
During the warning strike, nurses worked according to a reduced Shabbat schedule, postponing elective surgery and various procedures and examinations in the hospitals and minimizing or postponing those in the community.
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