Hospital beds 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
President Shimon Peres called on the government to give top priority to bringing
to an end the unrest involving medical residents at large hospitals in the
center of the country.
“It would be a shame to lose a single physician,
and of course, not 100 of them,” Peres said during a speech at an event for 700
young volunteers held on Tuesday in Kiryat Gat.
He was referring to the
three-month-long dispute involving medical residents at hospitals in Haifa and
the center of the country that, in the last two days, resulted in the refusal to
work by a total of 287 of them and resignations by 30 senior
The hospital with the most residents to refuse to show up in
the wards was Rambam Medical Center in Haifa (the figure of those staying away
was 80 on Monday); Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (a total of 60); Meir
Medical Center in Kfar Saba (58); Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer (37);
Bnei Zion in Haifa (16); Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva
(15); Wolfson Medical Center in Holon (10); and four at the Rabin Medical Center
in Petah Tikva.
The residents, who carry the burden of the daily routine
in hospitals alongside the specialists and department heads, are demanding
higher compensation for their work, no regular shift work for specialists and
the cancellation of the timeclock idea approved in August by the Israel Medical
The Treasury, which has the power to reach an agreement,
said that the August agreement cannot be broken and that the voluntary
organization set up by the residents does not legally represent them.
Health Ministry also received a report on Tuesday that about 30 specialists
presented their resignations to Rambam, 30 at Sourasky and 20 at Schneider as
backing for the younger doctors.
But the ministry said that, despite the
walkouts and no-shows, work in all the hospitals are continuing “normally” and
that no departments or units have been allowed to close as a
However, at certain parts of the hospitals, patients have been
advised not to come in for elective care.
Some hospital patients have
been transferred to hospitals in the periphery, which are not affected because
doctors there, who benefit under the new agreement with the Treasury, have not
The ministry reiterated that it regarded “with great severity”
the actions of the residents and the specialists who back them, because their
actions “put an added burden on senior doctors” who have to take their places
However, the ministry has asked the State Attorney’s Office to
postpone legal action that could have been implemented immediately, apparently
in the hope that the rebelling doctors will relent and continue negotiating with
Also on Tuesday, some 30 residents and interns at Hillel
Jaffe Medical Center in Hadera suddenly abandoned their departments for two
hours without getting their superiors’ authorization.
The doctors said
they did so to identify with the residents and specialists who resigned from
Hospital director Prof. Meir Oren, who supports
“some” of the demands of the rebels, invited some residents to his office to
talk. The demonstrators said they did not intend to harm patients and returned
to their posts.