Treasury, IMA trade charges as sanctions continue

Outpatient clinics, hospitals and diagnostic facilities from Tel Aviv south to be on strike.

May 23, 2011 06:28
2 minute read.
Hospital Beds

Hospital Beds 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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“The Israel Medical Association leadership is incapable of reaching an agreement,” Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen charged on Sunday.

On Monday, hospital outpatient clinics, day hospitals and diagnostic institutes will close down in the southern half of the country from Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

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On Tuesday, the same thing will occur in hospitals in the northern half of the country (from Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer).

“Only in the last week, the Treasury reached some complex agreements involving reforms and structural changes, but with the doctors, there is no real partner with whom to reach an agreement,” the Shas legislator said.

Since the doctors’ labor dispute began nearly two months ago, Cohen has been the Treasury’s main mouthpiece on the issue.

“Either the doctors don’t want to or are unable to reach an agreement,” he said.

Only in the past week, he continued, “the Treasury has been successful at reaching complex agreements with reforms and structural changes with the teachers, the Israel Land Administration and others. But we see the doctors as unable to make decisions necessary for the good of the public health system, who prefer to continue to hurt patients with an illegitimate and unnecessary strike.”

Cohen added that the Treasury has “made the doctors very generous proposals for coping with the real problems of the health system – medical care in the periphery, medical residents and specialties with serious doctor shortages – but the IMA is worrying mostly about higher wages for senior doctors.

The doctors have for two months been protesting against the Treasury’s “refusal to negotiate fairly” on their demands for higher wages, increased manpower and restructuring the health system.

All the charges have been denied by IMA chairman Dr.

Leonid Eidelman.

The “gaps between the two sides remain large and the Treasury’s offers insubstantial, while the health system collapses,” Eidelman said at a Lag Ba’omer “protest bonfire” in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

He promised to continue the struggle until a solution is found to prevent irreversible damage to patients.

“We will go on with our struggle for many months more if there is a need,” he said, reiterating his call for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is formally health minister, to get involved in finding a solution.

Lecturers at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Medical School changed the times of their classes to allow some 400 medical students to participate in the demonstration at the Reading parking lot just north of the Yarkon River.

There will be no sanctions on Wednesday, the IMA said, but on Thursday, there will be an assembly of medical staffers who work with radiation, including cardiologists, urologists, anesthesiologists, gastroenterologists, orthopedists, lung specialists, vascular surgeons and nuclear medicine specialists. Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., they will attend the assembly about the manpower shortages in their fields. The location of the assembly has not yet been announced, but the event will cause many disruptions in non-emergency operations and in hospital outpatient clinic functioning.

MK Dov Henin said at the demonstration that “the time has come to stop the conflagration in the health system.

Instead of listening to the doctors‚ justified demands, the government continues to use ‘spin’ to separate the younger doctors from the veteran ones.”

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