Treasury, IMA talks fail; doctors’ slowdown to continue

Negotiations reach impasse of doctors' demands for wage increase; medical sanctions to continue as scheduled as talks expected to resume.

By
April 12, 2011 04:14
1 minute read.
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doctors operation generic 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Negotiations held Monday night between representatives of the Israel Medical Association and the Treasury reached an impasse over the doctors' insistence for a 50% wage increase.

Talks between the two sides will resume Tuesday.

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Another general strike at hospitals is expected to take place Wednesday if an agreement is not reached.

Earlier Monday, a change in tone in formal exchanges – through letters – between the Treasury and the Israel Medical Association made possible renewed negotiations over the doctors’ dispute and sanctions.

The IMA said that after weeks of “refusing to be pinned down” on whether arbitration would be an option for reaching an agreement, the Treasury became more clear, saying that arbitration as well as negotiations were both possible alternatives.

However, as Monday night's meeting failed to yield results, sanctions will continue as scheduled, with only urgent surgery to treat cancer patients and no elective surgery to be performed on Tuesday, as it was on Monday. On Wednesday, all public hospitals in the country will operate on a reduced Shabbat schedule, with outpatient clinics closed as well (except for urgent outpatient and inpatient cases approved by special committees).

Meanwhile, the IMA carried out demonstrative action to “strengthen the doctors of the periphery,” which it called a “central issue in the negotiations” with the Treasury.

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The association established a partnership between medical staffers in the powerful Sheba Medical Center – the largest state hospital, located at Tel Hashomer – and Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. Sheba doctors volunteered for this assignment, said the IMA.

Nineteen physicians went to Barzilai on Monday to help relieve the work pressure there and to show their solidarity with the periphery. Cardiologists, anesthesiologists, surgeons, internists, radiologists, pediatricians and other specialists took part.

“We wanted to prove that one can work sanely when there are enough doctors,” said Dr. Zeev Feldman, chairman of Sheba’s doctors’ committee.

They helped out in the emergency rooms, while an anesthesiologist worked in an operating theater and an interventional cardiologist performed a catheterization of a heart patient.

JPost.com staff contributed to this report.

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