Doctors to strike outpatient clinics north of TA

IMA says Treasury "shamelessly misleading MKs."

Litzman 311 (photo credit: JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH)
Litzman 311
The Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee held its second recess session on Wednesday to discuss the lack of progress on the doctors’ strike, which is expected to resume on Thursday, hitting all outpatient clinics north of Tel Aviv.
MKs heard arguments from both sides, but failed to achieve any sort of understanding between the parties.
“I am convinced that there is not one doctor who is interested in continuing to strike, and that is why I asked to call the committee into session in order to try to solve these problems,” committee chairman Haim Katz (Likud) said.
Dr. Leonid Eidelman, chairman of the Israel Medical Association, said the Treasury was refusing to discuss the real problems: a dearth of manpower and a reasonable promotion track for doctors, and the burden of work rotations on residents.
“We need an immediate addition of 1,000 positions, a doubling of the basic salary for doctors who are willing to work in the periphery, and 50 percent salary raises for doctors who work in less-popular fields so that they will devote their time to the hospitals rather than private clinics,” Eidelman said.
Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) attacked the IMA’s position, saying that he “could not understand what the doctors’ demands are. If I knew, I could also answer regarding my ability to help.”
Still, he promised that the parties would reach an agreement on the recruitment of more positions. “Regarding salaries and determining which fields need reinforcement – it is the Israel Medical Association that decides on these issues,” he said.
Finance Ministry representatives said the Treasury was already offering “an agreement that is focused on the periphery, on weak fields and on residents.”
Among the solutions offered by the Treasury was that more senior doctors would be obliged to work rotations.
“If doctors will agree to use a time clock, we will increase the framework of costs in the agreement. We want to pay more to those who spend more time in the hospitals, and do not leave in the course of the day to work in their private practice. In addition, we want the doctors to work a five-day week,” Treasury Wages Director Ilan Levin said.
Eidelman accused Levin of “shamelessly misleading the MKs.”
MKs Orly Levy (Israel Beiteinu) and Eli Aflalo (Kadima) slammed the Treasury’s offer of just “a few dozen shekels” to doctors willing to relocate to the periphery.