Israeli MK castigates Health Ministry for causing 'thousands of deaths'

According to Knesset member Eli Alalouf, Israel's Health Ministry is causing the death of thousands annually due to lack of planning and neglect of the country's periphery.

January 10, 2017 15:54
2 minute read.
Doctor and patient

Doctor and patient (illustrative).. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

MK Eli Alalouf (Kulanu) accused the Health Ministry on Tuesday of “being responsible for the deaths of thousands of patients a year” during a meeting of the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee that he chairs.

Speaking on Health Awareness Day in the Knesset on the subject of accessibility to medical care on the country’s periphery, Alalouf charged the ministry with being “unable to plan and of having no courage. We all know what the problems are. The time has come to change their thinking. Lack of planning paralyzes the system. It would be interesting to see if they’d do to you [in the Health Ministry] what is done to the Transport Ministry with every additional death on the highways. People pay with their lives, because they don’t get medical care on time and at the level they need,” said the Kulanu MK.

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“The health system doesn’t want to investigate the effects of lack of services on mortality, but we know that in the South and North, people live shorter lives than in the center.”

Alalouf wanted to know why the ministry stopped giving the bonuses it promised to doctors who work on the periphery.

“The finance and health ministers are now looking at the right model to reach the maximum in this matter,” responded Oren Geva, the Treasury’s health liaison in the budgets branch.

But Prof. Ze’ev Feldman, head of the neurosurgery society, asked, “Why change the model that has succeeded in bringing 1,800 doctors to the periphery? The model works!” Alalouf commented that the “Health Ministry has probably failed to sell it to the Treasury, and they weren’t convinced.”

He demanded raising the ceiling for the health tax on the rich and to create differential payments for supplementary health insurance rather than the same premiums for rich and poor.

Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said that the number of physicians per capita in the North is half the number in Tel Aviv and the number of medical students per capita in Israel the lowest in all the OECD countries.

Former health minister MK (Yesh Atid) Yael German said that many more Israelis die of diseases than from terrorism or road accidents. The law requires that in places with fewer than 10,000 residents, the four public health funds must supply medical services if none has a branch there, but the law is not being enforced, she said.

The Health Ministry declined to comment.

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