Near-unanimous opposition to privatization of Holon hospital

MK Hanin: Treasury intended to give "huge grants totalling NIS 100 million" to Maccabi for taking hospital off stae's hands.

October 24, 2007 03:22
1 minute read.
Near-unanimous opposition to privatization of Holon hospital

nahariya hospital 298.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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The Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee unanimously demanded on Tuesday that the government immediately halt the privatization of Holon's Wolfson Medical Center, a government hospital that the Treasury's budget division is trying to give to Maccabi Health Services. The issue was raised by MK Dov Hanin, who said the hospital has been deprived of state funds with the aim of showing it was in such a desperate situation that it must be taken over by Maccabi, the country's second-largest health fund. The process has been going on for five years. Hanin told the committee it was unconscionable that the medical center be handed over to Maccabi without compensation to the state, and that in addition, the Treasury intended to give "huge grants totalling NIS 100 million" to Maccabi for taking it off the state's hands. Wolfson Director-General Dr. Yitzhak Berlovich, who until a year ago was deputy director-general of the Health Ministry, said the uncertainty was making it difficult for him to run the hospital, as several departments that have been among the best in the country are losing their top doctors to other hospitals. The decision to privatize the hospital was officially made by the government, as there is a conflict of interest in the Health Ministry between its role of owning state hospitals and supervising all medical institutions. However, the Health Ministry opposes the move, and even within the Treasury there are bureaucrats who think it is a bad idea. A Maccabi representative said the health fund was willing to take over Wolfson only if it was done in an organized way, and not with employees threatening to strike because they are dissatisfied with the move. The union of government physicians is absolutely opposed to the privatization. Yossi Keiner of the Civil Service Commission told the committee that it was obligated to carry out the government decision even though it was "not examined properly from the economic aspect and regarding the status of Wolfson employees."

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