Leaders of the Israel Medical Association will rally on Wednesday at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) against what they say are Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman’s intentions to transfer the IMA’s Scientific Council – which is responsible for training medical specialists – to the ministry’s authority.Litzman’s proposal is due to be discussed early next month in the Knesset State Control Committee. His views were first sounded a month ago in a discussion of the State Comptroller’s report on the ministry and the growing shortage of physicians.“Instead of raising a serious discussion to deal with this acute problem, Litzman raised his idea to take over responsibility for the Scientific Council as a way to solve the problem,” the IMA said on Sunday evening.IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said the council does not determine the number of doctors who will be produced in the country, but only the ability of a medical institution to train residents to be specialists. The number of new physicians depends on the number of students that the Council for Higher Education allocates to the four medical schools and the number of slots for residents in the hospitals, and the Scientific Council has no influence over these, Eidelman added.The IMA said that in all Western countries, the training of physicians is supervised by an independent professional body, to protect this function from outside influences. Eidelman said that if the ministry takes over, the process of trainingspecialists will be in danger of “dangerous politicization that willend in the compromise of the level of physicians and the lowering ofthe level of Israeli medicine to that in the Third World.”The medical association and Litzman have been in conflict almost sincehe took office 11 months ago. No comment was available from theministry.