Residents to tell court of decision to renew talks

Doctors agree to inform High Court of decision to return to negotiations with Finance Ministry.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
November 20, 2011 07:31
3 minute read.
Doctors protest in Haifa [File]

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

Hospital residents were expected to inform the High Court of Justice 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.

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Saturday evening called on medical residents who  requested to resign to return to negotiations with the Finance Ministry, Channel 10 news reported.

During a meeting with officials from the Health Ministry and the Treasury, Netanyahu stressed that "it doesn't make sense that doctors would call into question the legal authority and not listen to [Supreme Court] President [Dorit] Beinisch and return to negotiations."

The residents who were sharply criticized by the High Court of Justice on Thursday night, had until Sunday to respond whether they would return to negotiations with the Finance Ministry or face contempt-of-court orders from the National Labor Court.

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.

Meanwhile, Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, until recently director- general of the Hadassah Medical Organization, is abroad until Wednesday.

Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman announced on Thursday night that Mor-Yosef had agreed to serve as his personally appointed “project manager” to resolve the doctors’ crisis and to advise him about it. After Mor-Yosef’s denial on Thursday night that he had agreed to take on the position – which seemingly would pull the rug out from under Prof. Ronni Gamzu, Litzman’s director-general – Litzman called the former Hadassah administrator.

Mor-Yosef finally agreed to be only a temporary adviser to Litzman but insisted that he will not be a “project manager” and negotiate with the sides.

He said he would not do anything to undermine Gamzu, whom senior Treasury officials have tried to push out because he refused to immediately fire a number of medical specialists at Rambam, as ordered by Litzman.

MK Rachel Adatto (Kadima), who is chairwoman of the Knesset’s Health Lobby and a physician and lawyer, said the attitude of Netanyahu, formally the health minister, has “revealed itself in all its ugliness. After nine months of the biggest crisis in the health system’s history,” the prime minister has done nothing to resolve it, she said.

Adatto called for the establishment of a state investigation committee to look into the failures of management of the health system. She called on Netanyahu to “return the keys” and “admit to his failure.”

MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) sent an urgent letter to Netanyahu and demanded that he cease trying to weaken and even dismiss Gamzu. “Prof. Gamzu is one of the best Health Ministry directors-general,” Gilon said.


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