Delays in elective surgery expected Tuesday morning

Surgeons in three hospitals protest manpower shortages.

Nahariya Hospital 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Nahariya Hospital 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
"Emergency meetings" of doctors will be held Tuesday between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. at three hospitals around the country to discuss the serious shortage of general surgeons. The sanctions, which come less than a week after five other hospitals' surgeons did the same, will postpone non-emergency surgery during the meetings. The affected hospitals are Soroka in Beersheba, Assaf Harofeh in Tzrifin and Western Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. Last week, the Israel Surgical Association charged in a letter to Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri that the shortage of surgeons, leading to overwork, is causing hospital surgical departments to collapse. Surgeons claim that due to the severe shortage of general surgeons - only 300 around the country - and the specialty's inability to attract young doctors to the field, veteran surgeons have to work much harder. On particularly hectic days in emergency rooms and departments, the role of duty surgeons is filled by doctors from other fields, outside doctors and even interns, the association says. "Residents do 10 shifts a month, including weekends, and are so tired that they sometimes are not awake enough to drive home safely." Health Ministry director-general Prof. Avi Yisraeli has asked the hospitals for data on the number of general surgeons, manpower slots and their needs.