Privatization of school health services to end in periphery

Health Ministry will hire public health nurses in the northern and southern district from Ashkelon downwards.

Litzman 311 (photo credit: JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVITCH)
Litzman 311
It was announced this week that public health nurses will be restored at schools in the periphery – the north and the south – years after the Health Ministry acceded to the Treasury and privatized the school health service. The ministry was blasted by the State Comptroller for the move, which will be reversed in all but the central districts according to an announcement on Tuesday.
The Health Ministry announced that negotiations being held between the two ministries have led to the decision, initiated by Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman.
The ministry will hire public health nurses in the northern and southern district from Ashkelon downwards instead of a private company vaccinating schoolchildren in these areas.
The Association for the Advancement of Public Health, a Magen David Adom private subsidiary, and heart monitoring company Nataly were contracted to provide nurse firstaid, examination, health education and vaccination services for all schoolchildren, but they failed to complete even necessary vaccinations by the end of the year.
The Health Ministry said that the northern and southern districts were the “most complicated” regions and thus would say goodbye to privatization.
The central districts would have their school health services provided by another private company chosen by a tender. The ministry did not say when the change would go into effect, but it certainly would not begin with the new school year, which begins in a few weeks.
Litzman said that “the decision to privatize the school health service was taken several years ago by someone else in the ministry. Today, we would not have made such a decision [to forgo state provision of these services],” he said.
“I believe that the state must take responsibility for this matter,” Litzman declared. But due to the shortage of Treasury- approved work slots for the ministry, the deputy minister concluded, the compromise had to be made.
“We will make the service more efficient and make sure that a proper response is given to this service, which is so important to all of us because it is our children’s health.”
It should be noted that until recently, Litzman remained silent when asked whether the school health service should be restored to the government and the privatization canceled.
In addition, when he served as chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, he adopted the Treasury’s point of view and pushed for privatization of the vital service.