Hospital directors oppose Litzman plan to shorten shifts

Litzman appoints c'tee to look into shortening shifts, even though Israel Medical Association prefers fewer shifts rather than shortening them.

June 21, 2011 23:38
1 minute read.
Deputy Health Minister Yaacov Litzman [file]

Litzman 311. (photo credit: JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH)


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While Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman decided on Tuesday to set up a team to examine his proposal to cut the number of hours in residents’ night and weekend shifts, the Union of Hospital Directors called on Prime Minister (and official health minister) Binyamin Netanyahu to intervene in the 11-week labor dispute immediately.

Litzman appointed a “professional committee” headed by his director-general, Dr. Ronni Gamzu, to look into shortening the shifts, even though the Israel Medical Association prefers fewer shifts per month rather than shortening them. The IMA says hospital residents will not be able to benefit from clinical teaching if hours are shorter and that there are not enough residents to fill crucial slots if their hours are shortened to 20 hours per shift instead of the current 24 or more.

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Litzman said that the committee will “including professional representatives from the health system.”

The ministry did not say who the committee members would be. The residents’ shift issue is a major cause of dispute between the two sides; unusually, the Treasury sided with the IMA in opposing Litzman’s proposal.

The hospital directors told the prime minister that many doctors have left and are leaving the health system because of poor working conditions and pay and inadequate manpower. Netanyahu has declined to intervene since negotiations began between the IMA and the Treasury almost a year ago.

They added that they opposed Litzman’s “solution” because it would bring about more duty shifts per month and make work much more difficult for residents.

On Wednesday, the Knesset State Control Committee will meet to discuss hospital crowding and the demands of both doctors and nurses, who are also applying sanctions in internal medicine departments and intensive care units.


On the same day, only urgent and oncological operations will be held in all the hospitals. In addition, hospital outpatient clinics, diagnostic clinics, and day hospitals in general, psychiatric and geriatric hospitals will shut down. On Thursday, the same schedule of sanctions will be held as on Wednesday.

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