PM urges medical residents to return to wards

At weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu says, "No man is above the law, leave sick patients out of your struggle."

November 20, 2011 12:40
2 minute read.
Doctors protest in Haifa [File]

doctor strike haifa_311. (photo credit: Piotr Fliter/Ramban Medical Center)


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for medical residents to return immediately to their hospitals as their representatives informed the High Court of Justice that they were willing to return to the negotiating table and to accept the court's proposal to appoint a mediator.

Netanyahu expressed empathy with medical residents, but took a harsh tone in calling on them to get back to the wards since more than 300 have walked out of their hospitals.

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Health Ministry looks to get residents back to work
Residents appeal to High Court after talks fail

Court to hear residents' resignation petition

"I understand your desire to improve working conditions but no man in Israel is above the law. All of us are required to uphold the decisions of the courts. Otherwise, it's anarchy," Netanyahu said from the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, referring to the High Court decision that residents begin talks with the Treasury.

The prime minister called on medical residents to "leave sick patients out of your struggle."

The prime minister made the comments as hospital residents informed the High Court Sunday morning of their decision to renew negotiations with the Finance Ministry.

The doctors came to this decision after hours of heated discussion on Saturday. However, they said that they would not return to work immediately. They will first submit a draft of negotiations, and only if the state consents and the High Court approves it, will they return to the hospitals.

The young doctors at hospitals in the Center of the country and at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa have been outraged by conditions set down in the labor accord signed between the Israel Medical Association (IMA) and the ministry in August.

More than 300 residents have resigned and walked off their job, while a few dozen specialists have signed resignation letters but not yet carried them out. Their main demand now is that the contract be in effect only for three or four years, and not the nine years agreed to by the IMA.

A demonstration in support of the rebel residents will be held in the capital on Sunday by the Student Association of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine. The medical students will go to the two Hadassah University Medical Centers and Shaare Zedek Medical Center where they have clinical studies, and try to get patients to sign a petition in favor of the residents’ demands.

The demonstration will mean that the students will stay away from their studies until noon.

Joanna Paraszczuk contributed to this report

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