(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Although the number of hospital residents who stayed away from their jobs rose
from 380 on Monday to 470 on Tuesday, the medical centers in the center of the
country – except for Rambam in Haifa – are managing to cope with the
This was made possible by long hours of work by medical
specialists, the transfer of patients to hospitals in the periphery (where there
have been no walk-offs) and the public trying to avoid hospitalization.
residents: Resignations may be unstoppable
residents agree to postpone resignation by 48 hours
The affected hospitals were Tel Aviv Sourasky, Rambam, Assaf Harofeh (Tzrifin),
Sheba (Tel Hashomer), Wolfson (Holon), Meir (Kfar Saba), Bnei Zion (Haifa), and
Rabin and Schneider (Petah Tikva).
Dr. Chezy Levy, the head of the Health
Ministry’s medical branch, instructed Magen David Adom ambulance drivers to send
patients in the Haifa area to Nazareth and Nahariya hospitals. The ministry’s
website at www.health.gov.il has phone numbers for the public to contact at each
of the hospitals hit by the walkout.
Meanwhile, the state was waiting for
the National Labor Court to decide whether to issue tie-up orders that would
force the rebel physicians – who refuse to accept the labor accord signed by the
Israel Medical Association at the end of August – to return to the
The Finance Ministry announced that its staffers would go on a
collective holiday until after Succot, but a team of negotiators will
nevertheless remain on the job to try to reach an agreement with the
A representative of the young doctors declared: “We have no
desire to conduct negotiations over an offer that doesn’t relate to
They rejected Prime Minister (and Health Minister) Binyamin
Netanyahu’s proposal – first raised weeks ago – to add “thousands of shekels a
month” to the wages of residents if they sign a commitment to work only in
public institutions and not in private ones as well to earn more. But the
residents argued that the offer didn’t address them or their
“It applies to only a small number of young specialists, that
is, doctors who have finished their residency. The prime minister’s offer
doesn’t relate to residents at all and it is strange that until now, his office
didn’t understand who was standing on the other side of the crisis,” the
Medical residents “have no desire to conduct
negotiations over an offer that doesn’t relate to residents and completely
ignores the issue of shortening the [collective] agreement. Such an offer cannot
bring any change to the health system,” the residents said in a
Earlier on Tuesday, Netanyahu called on medical residents to
return to work, saying they need to “show responsibility.
offered the residents an addition of thousands of shekels to their monthly
salaries in exchange for working in the the public sector once they become
“That is a generous offer that significantly improves work
conditions and contributes to citizens who are hospitalized in the public health
system,” the prime minister maintained.
Shas spiritual leader Rabbi
Ovadia Yosef told Army Radio that while the doctors should return to their
posts, the government should do its utmost to find a solution to the crisis and
allocate enough resources to meet their demands, as people’s lives were at
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an interview that while he
appreciated the physicians’ work, they were “not respecting the law.” Their
representative organization is the Israel Medical Association, he said, thus
they could not rebel against it and come up with their own demands after a
nine-year labor accord was signed. “That’s anarchy!” he said.
Treasury has issued figures for what it says are the monthly wages of hospital
residents before and after the wage agreement. Their starting gross wages were
NIS 17,000 (these include six monthly night and weekend shifts) and have now
risen to to NIS 21,000 in the center of the country and almost NIS 26,000 in the
periphery, the Treasury said.
The Health Ministry, which pays the wages
of residents at government hospitals, declined to confirm or deny these figures,
fearful of siding with or upsetting either the Treasury or the residents who
serve as the nuts and bolts of daily hospital care.
The ministry said it
has “not had time” to consider the possibility of preparing a government bill to
charge Israelis who studied medicine here for their highly subsidized education
if they decided to emigrate to a better paying job abroad soon after their
Never faced before with the mass resignations of residents,
it had not thought of it, The Jerusalem Post
was told, but it was a possibility
in view of the new reality.