Treasury wage chief apologizes for ‘murder’ comment

Many Clalit, Leumit clinics will be closed due to sanctions; "exception committee" approves over half of requests for procedures.

By
May 4, 2011 02:27
2 minute read.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Ilan Levin

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Ilan Levin 311. (photo credit: Yael Simhon)

 
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Although a general strike in all public hospital wards and outpatient clinics was officially held on Tuesday, those who needed urgent care received it.

The Israel Medical Association, which launched a series of sanctions six weeks ago to demand reorganization of the public health system and a significant increase in doctors’ wages, says its members are not endangering their patients and that it is well aware that continuous sanctions that disrupt medical care will turn many supporters among the public against them.

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The IMA’s “exception committees” in all the hospitals approved more than half of the 100 requests for treatment presented by patients and their doctors in hospitals around the country.

On Wednesday, sanctions will be carried out in some Clalit Health Services and Kupat Holim Leumit community clinics.

At Clalit, clinics will be closed in Ra’anana, Herzliya, Kfar Saba, Netanya, Hadera- South, Beersheba, Kirya Gat, Netivot, Ashkelon and Sderot. Leumit Jerusalem District community health clinics will also be shut down. On Thursday, the outpatient clinics in hospitals south of Tel Aviv plus the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center will be shut down. A detailed list of affected hospitals will be published before then.

Although the Finance Ministry and IMA negotiators over the dispute have not come any closer to finding a solution, one unpleasant incident is behind them. Treasury wage chief Ilan Levin – who in an Army Radio interview last week said the doctors were performing “murder” by endangering patients during strikes and sanctions – apologized. The IMA welcomed the apology but said that if Levin had issued it during the last negotiating session on Thursday, he would have saved “three days of needless strife.”

IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman added it was “unfortunate that Ilan Levin continues to question the legitimacy of the doctors’ struggle despite the fact that it is legitimate legally and morally.”

The IMA had complained against Levin to the Civil Service Commission; with the apology, it will update the commissioner.

The apology took up only a few words of a sentence in a six-paragraph letter. While opposing the doctors’ actions and all of their demands, Levin said he had much appreciation for the work and contributions of doctors to society and their professional level. “The use of the word ‘murder’ does not represent my views, and I am sorry that they were taken out of context,” he wrote.

On Sunday, a conference on pathology will be attended by all the country’s pathologists (who examine biopsies for cancer and other disease). As a result, during the conference – the IMA said – operations will be minimized in all the medical centers during that time. On Thursday next week, all the outpatient clinics will be closed in all public hospitals north of Tel Aviv, including that at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

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