Court orders state to finally act on mental health

After 15 years of dawdling, the state must act on mental health care reform, High Court says.

March 1, 2012 03:11
1 minute read.
Medicine [illustrative]

Medicine pills drugs prescription 311. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The High Court of Justice on Wednesday instructed the Health Ministry and the government in general to explain within two months why they have failed to reform mental health care during the last 15 years. The state asked the court for permission to postpone its response.

The Health Ministry has long provided inadequate budgets for psychiatric services, leading to inadequate care and long delays, forcing many patients – especially children – to seek expensive private care or go without.

A reform plan dating back to 1997 recommended that the four public health funds take over responsibility so that more money would be available and psychiatric care would be treated like all other medical care supplied by the insurers. But the Treasury balked at spending ever-rising amounts of shekels – numbering in the millions – through the health funds, and the Health Ministry has not been strong enough to persuade the more powerful Finance Ministry.

The Supreme Court had issued a restraining order in 2005 that instructed the state to act “immediately” and carry out the reform, but it did not do so.

The Health and Finance Ministries told the justices that since the last discussion in December, they had held “intensive meetings to examine all the aspects of transferring responsibility for psychiatric services to the health funds,” which were included in these discussions. But, they continued, “because of the complexity of the issues in implementing the reform,” ministry professionals say they need another month to complete the work and reach a decision.

The petition against the government had been made by Bizchut, Otzma and other public organizations demanding the reform. Otzma chairman Prof. Eli Shamir said “the government must not again fail to carry out its decision” to transfer responsibility for mental health services to the health funds. The delay has caused a heavy price in the health and lives of people suffering from mental illness, as well as on their families, he said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

August 31, 2014
Weizmann scientists bring nature back to artificially selected lab mice


Cookie Settings