The Israel Medical Association filed a petition against the government in the High Court of Justice on Tuesday, demanded that hospitals add 100 intensive care beds immediately and hundreds more by the end of 2011. It also called for 500 more regular beds in overwhelmed internal medicine departments and thousands more general hospitalization beds in the coming decade.
The suit was filed personally against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is formally health minister, as well as the Finance Ministry, the Health Ministry and Clalit Health Services, which runs its own hospitals. Overcrowding and inadequate staffing of the hospitals threaten the lives of patients, who are entitled by the National Health Insurance Law of 1995 to better conditions, the IMA said.
The doctors charged that the government of Israel has done nothing to improve the quality of care in hospitals in decades and added that Treasury promises that it will add hundreds of beds and manpower in the hospitals in the next six years cannot be taken for granted.