'Nurses strike could have led to diseases'

Israel Pediatrics Society warns that thousands of babies, toddlers have not received shots against pox, measles, hepatitis.

December 19, 2012 17:59
2 minute read.
Giving a vaccination [file photo]

Giving a vaccination injection shot 370 (R). (photo credit: Chaiwat Subprasom / Reuters)


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 analyses 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

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

As the nurses’ sanctions continued Wednesday on its 17th day, health experts worried that if it continues for much longer, not only will tens of thousands of operations and other medical procedures be postponed, but outbreaks of diseases could occur.

Since the sanctions began by 28,000 nurses in hospitals and community health facilities, vaccinations of infants, schoolchildren and adults have not been carried out. The Israel Pediatrics Society warned that thousands of babies and toddler have not received shots against whooping cough, chicken pox, measles, hepatitis A and B, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and other diseases. In addition, the Health Ministry’s district health offices have also not given travellers vaccinations.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

As a result, those who can afford it have been going privately for vaccinations, but those who cannot have gone without. Some hospital patients or their families have hired private nurses to take care of them in the public hospitals -- or gone to private hospitals where nurses do not strike.

The National Labor Court has not issued restraining orders, as the Treasury -- at least for now -- has cancelled its original request for them after the court sided with the nurses, who argued that the Treasury was "not negotiating seriously."

The Health Ministry has not issued any official statements about dangers to public health since the sanctions over a new nurses’ wage contract began, except one by Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman saying that no agreement can be reached until after the Knesset elections. The ministry has left the whole labor dispute to the Treasury to negotiate and make statements to the public.

Although two days ago, there was optimism both at the Treasury and the Israel Nursing Association that an agreement was near on a 12 percent wage increase -- in addition to hikes that would be made for all public workers. But it quickly evaporated, and the sides disagreed on the length of the ageement (three to five years) and whether all nurses would receive the same increase or some -- those in hospitals, the periphery or in specialties with inadequate manpower) would receive pay rises differentially.

On Wednesday, union chief Ilana Cohen said that there had been no progress and that commitments made by the Treasury have been quickly rescinded. She continued that the nurses were seeking not only higher salaries but also conditions that would attract more to the profession to improve the quality of care for patients.

Cohen added that the nurses were willing to apply sanctions even beyond the January 22 elections if necessary. In "normal" conditions, hospitals are overcrowded and medical facilities stretched beyond capacity because of complications of the flu.

The school health service, which was privatized by the Treasury years ago except when public health nurses were re-hired in the south, is paralyzed; the private contractors who provide the services have been criticized by the State Comptroller over the past few years for not doing all they were hired to do in "normal" times.

Related Content

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