Dozens of doctors fail to show up for work, despite ruling

Residents at Ichilov and Sheba Hospitals reject National Labor Court decision freezing their resignation during negotiations.

doctor strike haifa_311 (photo credit: Piotr Fliter/Ramban Medical Center)
doctor strike haifa_311
(photo credit: Piotr Fliter/Ramban Medical Center)
Flying in the face of a National Labor Court decision freezing their resignation, 46 medical residents failed to show up for their shifts at Ichilov hospital Thursday morning, Army Radio reported. A number of residents at Sheba Hospital also stayed home.
Most of the over 700 residents who resigned as part of a labor dispute heeded Wednesday's court decision preventing their resignation until at least until Thursday afternoon, showing up to work as scheduled. Negotiations between residents and the state were slated to continue, while the court was due to reconvene Thursday at noon.
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The absence of the residents represents the first time significant numbers failed to show up for work since they resigned en mass in early September. In preparing for such an eventuality, the Health Ministry published phone numbers of hospitals around the country where patients and their families could receive information on what medical services would still be available.
Poised to hand over their stethoscopes, cellphones and other equipment and say farewell to their patients on Thursday morning, they were prevented from doing so by National Labor Court President Nili Arad, who on Wednesday afternoon suspended the doctors’ resignation letters. The court was responding to an urgent request filed by the state for an emergency hearing.
The state previously argued that residents abandoning their posts at once would constitute an “illegal and forbidden strike” as defined in the Labor Court’s ruling in September, causing chaos and closing departments in the hospitals.
The Finance Ministry released a list of offers it had made to the medical residents that seemed generous enough to make the young physicians look stubborn and unwilling to reach a compromise. But despite the offers, the Treasury declared that the labor agreement it signed with the Israel Medical Association in late August would remain in force.