IMA: Knesset candidates ‘not interested’ in health

Israel Medical Association chairman writes paper claiming "Israeli health system does not interest the average politician.”

MK Ya'acov Litzman at the Knesset 370 (photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
MK Ya'acov Litzman at the Knesset 370
(photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
“Unfortunately, the Israeli health system does not interest the average politician,” Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman wrote on Monday in a position paper three weeks before the 19th Knesset election.
“The old lady [now lying in a bed in the hospital corridor] is not the same old lady, but the corridor is the same. The number of hospital beds per capita still puts Israel way behind the developed world; the health basket [of medicines and technologies] cries out for proper expansion and the medical staff are overwhelmed by the burden,” Eidelman said.
He added that by comparison, the health system is a prime public issue in the US.
“Despite its great importance, the health field has not been prominent or even explicitly mentioned in any election campaign since the establishment of the state,” he said.
In fact, the head of the Knesset’s Health Lobby, Dr. Rachel Adatto – a Kadima MK, joined The Tzipi Livni Party but was placed No. 16 on the candidates list, probably too low for her to enter the next Knesset.
The IMA sent a 12-page document explaining the critical issues facing the health system to all the parties running in the election.
They include the need to increase the number of medical (and nursing) students; continuing to invest in medical infrastructure in the periphery; properly budgeting the four public health funds with more Treasury money in addition to health taxes; annually increasing the health basket by an automatic 2 percent; strengthening public medicine, with supplementary health insurance policies allowed for use in public hospitals as well as private ones; reforming the psychiatric system; and promoting reform in geriatric nursing care.
The IMA document also called on the government to more vigorously discourage violence against medical staffers, and to promote prevention of disease, and health education.