A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hundreds of experienced family physicians from France are expected to eventually settle in Israel after the Israel Medical Association was persuaded by the Rashi Foundation and its affiliated Gvahim organization to allow them to practice without having to undergo additional training.
There is a real shortage of family physician specialists and general practitioners in the Israeli health system.
French Jewish doctors will be certified by the IMA and the Health Ministry if they have at least 10 years’ experience as specialists in family medicine and are recognized by the French national medical council. The IMA, whose scientific council is authorized to approve specialties, said it will reconsider according to the new criteria the qualification of doctors who were not recognized in the past, as well as new applicants planning to make aliya, the foundation said.
Until now, physicians who were licensed as family doctors in France were required to undergo a year of residency training and pass an oral exam before they could practice here. This presented a major obstacle for immigrant physicians from France, especially since residency placements in hospitals were limited. As a result, many were forced to work as general practitioners – facing difficulties in finding employment and earning lower salaries.
The situation was complicated by the fact that younger physicians who were licensed after 2007 as family doctors in France were recognized in Israel as specialists due French reforms in medical studies that turned family medicine into a specialist discipline. However, this did not apply to physicians who were licensed before 2007, including those who had many years of experience.
Gvahim created a wide network of Israeli companies, business leaders and professionals to match new immigrants and returning Israelis with employers and professionals that can take advantage of their experience and background, helping them to enter and establish themselves in Israeli society.
Its “Olim Medical” program, launched two years ago to help medical professionals from France integrate in Israel’s healthcare system, received more than 100 applications from family physicians interested in moving to Israel and over 400 applications by doctors of other types.
The Olim Medical team has undertaken in-depth research, translation, syllabus comparison and description of the licensing process of the French medical council, with the involvement of doctors. This work has allowed the special committee of IMA’s scientific council to adopt the position that was just presented at the final meetings between IMA and Gvahim.
Olim Medical director Oren Mizrahi said: “Family doctors from France will be encouraged to come here and work in their field, and the Israeli health system will benefit from much-needed qualified and experienced medical professionals... We will continue to accompany and support the new immigrants in their integration process [and] offer professional advice to all doctors who may be affected by this new policy before submitting their application.”