Ziv hosptial situation room_311.
(photo credit: Ziv Hospital)
A three-and-a-half-hour meeting between Israel Medical Association officials and
the Treasury ended Tuesday with no positive results but a long list of “bad
feelings” reported by the doctors. They said the atmosphere was “very negative,”
but were willing to have more talks if another session were scheduled for
Wednesday – the second and, for now, final day of the warning
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Treasury wage chief Ilan Levin was quoted as suggesting to the
doctors again during the meeting that they agree to arbitration to settle the
dispute instead of a full-blown strike. He called the warning strike
Levin reiterated that the Treasury insisted that all
doctors be required to use time clocks to ensure they were in departments when
they were supposed to be working.
Many people who had planned to visit
outpatient clinics in the hospitals, where Shabbat schedules were observed,
remained at home, thus reducing pressure on the departments. As far fewer
doctors were on hand at inpatient departments, there was more crowding and
overwork for those young physicians left in charge, especially in internal
medicine and emergency medicine departments. The IMA approved the arrival
of interns to help out where necessary, to prevent danger and suffering for
patients on the first day, the doctors said.
However, when the warning
strike continues on Wednesday, pressures are likely to build up, as hospitalized
patients were not discharged on Tuesday.
Safed’s Ziv Hospital in the
periphery reported that its emergency room treated twice as many patients as usual, partially due to Clalit Health Services and Kupat
Holim Leumit doctors – who constitute the majority of health fund physicians in
the area – not receiving patients in the community.
The IMA’s exceptions
committees received about 130 requests that doctors take cases – including those
needing urgent surgery – not included among the types of patients who are due to
be cared for, and about 40 were found to be justified, the IMA said.
of those approved at Ziv was a young man who needed an operation on his pelvis
due to a fracture. Until it was approved, he was fasting in expectation of being
approved for the the surgery and nervous that it might not be
Inpatients and those outpatients who came almost unanimously
and vocally expressed their support for the doctors, who are fighting not only
for higher wages – especially the younger ones who work long hours day and night
– but also for reform in the health system that would increase job slots and
incentives for specialties with too-few physicians and for those working in the
Even though patients were worried that they would not get
treatment they needed or would suffer delays, they said the “doctors’ struggle
is our struggle” and “we wish you luck.”
On Thursday, the IMA leaders,
headed by its chairman, Dr. Leonid Eidelman, will meet to decide what further
action to take in the coming days and weeks.
Meanwhile, the Israel
Association of Medical Students issued a statement in support of the doctors,
saying they met physicians on a daily basis during their clinical studies in
hospitals and knew how hard they worked in impossible conditions.
of them teach us as well as treating patients and often get no compensation for
this,” they said.
“We watch with much concern the sad state of the health
system, from the shortage of doctors in the periphery and basic specialties
everywhere, to the illogical shift work and the shameful pay they receive,” they
went on. “We support the doctors’ struggle and are ready to take an active part
in it, because we know their fight is our fight, and in the end it will benefit
the public at large.”