Children playing at a nursery 311 .
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Nurses working for the Nataly company contracted by the Health Ministry’s School
Health Service held a one-day warning strike on Wednesday, as a Knesset caucus
held an emergency session on the continuing controversy over the privatization
of the service.
Some 120 nurses, who had previously worked for the Health
Ministry, attended the meeting along with a dozen MKs and scores of health
professionals. The Treasury, with the acquiescence of the Health Ministry, seven
years ago privatized the service – which is supposed to vaccinate children,
educate them on healthy living and examine them for sight, hearing, weight and
The Treasury claimed it would save millions, but the
state comptroller in several reports wrote that it was a failure and cost more
The Health Ministry said a few weeks ago that due to
unsatisfactory bids in a public tender, no private company was chosen to replace
Nataly, which according to the comptroller did an inadequate job like its
for-profit predecessors. But due to school health problems in the South, public
nurses were re-hired to provide services in that region’s schools.
the speakers said that preventing disease and taking care of pupils was a
national mission and should not have been left for private companies interested
in making a profit.
Under privatization, even basic vaccinations were not
given to all the children.
Health Ministry public health head
Prof. Itamar Grotto said he would be happy if the whole service could be
When Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman was chairman
of the Knesset Finance Committee, he advocated privatization to save money, but
he has since seemed to change his mind.
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