Doctors threaten labor action

Medical professionals protest changes in bill, health budget.

Doctors oversee patient (photo credit: DANI MACHLIS/BGU)
Doctors oversee patient
(photo credit: DANI MACHLIS/BGU)
The Israel Medical Association, which declared a work dispute last week over planned changes in the Treasury’s Arrangement Bill, on Monday called for a reduced Shabbat work schedule in hospitals on Thursday.
The IMA, which has not struck in five years, said it is protesting the health and finance ministries’ intentions, which “harm the status, work conditions and pay of public hospital department heads” and other issues.
As proposed, contrary to their contracts, department heads will not be allowed to have private practices in addition to their public work, the IMA said.
Furthermore, the government plans to limit their terms as department heads and intends to not uphold a promise to fill manpower slots.
The government has decided to “prefer economic considerations and limit the professional judgment of doctors so they will be unable to meet their ethical and professional commitments,” the association charged.
If the doctors go through with their threat for a reduced Shabbat schedule, only emergency surgeries will be carried out, and the number of doctors on the wards will be reduced.
Meanwhile, the Israel Nurses Association sent a letter to Health Minister MK Ya’acov Litzman, saying: “ the health system is collapsing.
Increase the resources in the next state budget.”
Union chief Ilana Cohen said that “if concern for the public health is not raised to the top of the government’s priority list, we will not hesitate to take organizational steps against it.”
The proposed Treasury budget for next year “completely ignores the serious condition of the health system, and if the budget remains as is, it will expose the impossible suffering of the patients to the state’s apathy,” Cohen charged.
Responding to a request for comment, the Health Ministry spokeswoman said: “[Litzman] and his office are doing all they can to ensure that the next budget to be brought for approval by the government will provide the answer to these urgent needs.”