(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman told the Knesset plenum on Tuesday the he does not accept that the cause of elderly abuse at Haifa’s Neveh Kipat Hazahav was the workers’ low salaries.
He was responding to questions by MKs Ksenia Svetlova and Abdel-Hakim Haj Yahya, who asked: “When will we see real and close supervision [at geriatric institutions] and punishment for those who failed at their jobs and abused our elderly so horribly?” Litzman answered, “I take responsibility.
I do not throw it away. Today, the ministry made order, and I have started to investigate. How is the supervision? As all matters are. But first, one [must] know what happened. We didn’t know about it, and it’s good that TV did the investigation.”
“The solution,” said the minister,” involves several things. I gave an order to put security cameras in all the institutions, and we will do more surprise visits. We did 10 just last night. There are some people [from the geriatric hospital] who have been arrested. The director has been fired... We are expecting more dismissals.”
Litzman did not mention the fact that, according to Channel 2 on Monday night, two workers complained to the Haifa district health office a year ago against the geriatric hospital where patients were shown on hidden cameras to be abused.
The minister said a major problem is the lack of nurses and auxiliary workers to care for the patients, the need to allow in more foreign workers and the need for more budgets. “I don’t accept the excuse that the workers’ [minimum-wage] salaries or conditions caused the abuse.
Whoever doesn’t want to work, let him not work. But if he comes to work, he must act humanely and not do terrible things.”