Poll: Israelis want to choose their surgeon at no additional cost

Of those who have had surgery, 80% said it was important or very important for the waiting period for surgery to be shortened.

Doctor [Illustrative] (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Doctor [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Every Israeli should have the right to choose, at no cost, his surgeon at a public hospital, according to 84% of those responding to a survey by researchers at the Myers-JDC Brookdale Institute in Jerusalem.
The research, which periodically follows up public opinion on the implementation of the 1994 National Health Insurance Law, was headed by the institute’s Dr. Shuli Brammli-Greenberg.
Of those who have undergone surgery in the past, 64% said that their public health fund wholly paid for the surgery, while 36% said the payment was made to a private medical institution by supplementary health insurance from their health fund, commercial insurance or their own pocket.
The survey encompassed a representative sample of 2,513 adults speaking Hebrew, Arabic or Russian.
Nine out of 10 of those queried said it was very important or important to them to know who would perform their surgery, while 79% said it was vital for them to choose the hospital where it would be carried out.
Of those who have had surgery, 80% said it was important or very important for the waiting period for surgery to be shortened, something possible only at private hospitals or public hospitals allowed to have private medical services.
When asked what was most important to them in choosing a surgeon, most said that they wanted the most professional doctor, a human touch and time to speak to, and positive recommendations about, the surgeon.
Asked how they judged the excellence of a hospital, most said high-level medical service, being treated nicely and personally and having good hospitalization conditions.
Of those who needed a referral from their health fund for surgery in the past year, 46% said they could choose whom they wanted; 26% had to choose from among names on a list provided by the health fund; and the rest said they were not allowed a choice.
Opinions did not significantly differ among various sectors of the population, except by age and income. The majority of the sample’s respondents said that in the event of a serious illness, they did not feel confident about getting the best medical service available.