Liztman chides doctors, residents for refusing deal

Deputy health minister: Offer would have given 1,000 doctors an additional NIS 10,000; IMA: Doctors have "freedom of choice" to create rival union.

Litzman 311 (photo credit: JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVITCH)
Litzman 311
Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman expressed regret on Thursday that the department heads and medical residents who resigned rejected the offer to add NIS 100 million to the wages of doctors that agreed to work within the public healthcare system with completely flexible schedules.
The proposal would have added nearly NIS 10,000 to the salary of a thousand doctors, according to Litzman, whose comments came after some 100 department heads from 11 different hospitals gathered at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv Tuesday night to discuss the potential launch of an alternative union to the Israel Medical Association.
In response to the meeting, the IMA touted its loyalty to doctors around the country but said that all physicians have the freedom of choice.
“Every person is permitted to make his own choice,” a spokeswoman for the IMA told The Jerusalem Post.
Doctors were reportedly commiserating over their frustration with the agreement signed between IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman and the Finance Ministry in late August, which ended their fight for an increase in wages, and several physicians called for Eidelman’s resignation.
Meanwhile, medical residents’ organization Mirsham told the Post that it was considering splitting with the IMA as well, because the young doctors did not feel the union was taking their demands into account.
“We feel that the IMA is faithfully representing all the doctors for already 100 years,” the IMA maintained.
“However, we live in a democracy and anyone who wants to create other groups may do so.”
The meeting came after 200 residents privately resigned on Tuesday in response to a National Labor Court ruling on Sunday that deemed the coordinated mass resignation of residents and interns illegal.
In a unanimous ruling, the National Labor Court issued an injunction ordering 1,000 residents who had signed letters of resignation last month to report to work as usual.
The court ruled that the resignations signed by the residents were illegal and therefore invalid.
“Failure to report to work as stated will constitute an unauthorized abandonment of their jobs by the workers, and will be subject to the appropriate consequences,” the court ruled.