Israeli health system is ‘anorexic,' says ministry director

Knesset session convened to discuss financial issues of psychiatric hospitals .

January 16, 2017 17:19
1 minute read.

Doctor [Illustrative]. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

The health system suffers from “anorexia – that is, a chronic hunger for financial resources,” Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov said at a meeting of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee on Monday.

Bar Siman Tov, previously a senior economist in the Finance Ministry’s budgets division, predicted that in the next few years the condition “would get even worse. We will have difficulty maintaining the public health system. There will be a tremendous amount of aging and chronic illness, and at the same time, medical technologies will become more expensive. These phenomena will become stronger, unless we add funds, including by raising health taxes.”

When committee chairman MK (Kulanu) Eli Alalouf stated that the health system “can’t save all patients today,” the ministry director-general conceded, saying, “I completely agree.” But he did not explain why his former colleagues do not realize this risk.

“This issue is a matter of state irresponsibility,” he added. “If we don’t raise the health tax ceiling for the wealthy and don’t add resources, the rich will continue to go to private medical institutions” while the less financially secure will suffer.

The session was called to discuss specifically the financial problems of psychiatric hospitals. “In the next few years, we will add 150 beds,” Bar Siman Tov said. “If we transfer to community facilities those patients who do not need to be hospitalized, the situation will be satisfactory.”

But he agreed that conditions in the psychiatric hospitals are not acceptable, and said that some patients are unnecessarily bound to control them. “Psychiatric hospital teams feel they are being attacked. They don’t want to go to work, and patients are afraid to be hospitalized,” he said.

“The teams do good work under existing conditions. We will take action against anyone responsible for abusing them,” the director-general continued.

Alalouf said he would, together with Bar Siman Tov, create a plan to improve the psychiatric hospital system and reveal it in six months.

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