Ministers to approve NIS 500m. to bolster public health

Deputy health minister’s plan to strengthen public health system will be presented for approval by the government.

February 24, 2011 05:22
2 minute read.
Deputy Health Minister Yaacov Litzman [file]

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


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Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman’s plan to strengthen the public health system will be presented on Sunday for approval by the government.

NIS 500 million will be budgeted for the project, which aims at reducing hospital crowding and expanding health services to the public while giving priority to hospitals in the periphery.

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In a Tuesday night meeting attended by Prime Minister (and Health Minister) Binyamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Litzman, it was agreed to present the program, which will increase the number of public hospital beds by 960 over the next six years and establish a new hospital in Ashdod, which will have 300 beds; thus the total will be 1,260 beds.

Some 160 slots for doctors in the government hospitals will be added during the next two years. Incentive pay will be given to doctors in specialties in which there are shortages, especially in the periphery, and to encourage doctors to do shift work on weekends, nights and holidays.

The number of nursing students will be increased by 185, while 100 beds will be added to psychiatric hospitals. The number of approved magnetic resonance instruments (MRIs) will be increased from 10 to 21. Eight more linear accelerators used for external beam radiation treatments for cancer patients will be introduced.

Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya will open an in-vitro fertilization unit like those that exist in nearly every general hospital.

Children’s accessibility to vaccines in the unrecognized Beduin settlements will be increased.

Litzman said on Wednesday that the decision to bolster the public health system was “unprecedented” and will have direct implications for improving healthcare.

The Health Ministry issued a report some time ago said that over 3,000 funded hospital beds will be lacking in the public hospitals by 2015.

Meanwhile, the Israel Medical Association said that a new survey conducted by the Geocartography Institute showed 80 percent of the public feel the state fails to strengthen the public health system. Fully 96% said the number of hospital beds and the number of doctors must be increased, while 92% said physicians’ working conditions must be improved. The 500 queried formed a representative sample of Israeli adults.

While seven in 10 thought Israeli doctors are professional and use among the best technologies in the world, only a fifth said hospital conditions allowed high-quality medicine.

IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman concluded that the government’s priorities for healthcare must be changed after years of neglect.

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