Medical interns resign en masse: 'Largest medical crisis in Israel's history'

Hundreds of Israeli medical interns and residents resigned in protest of another delay to the reform

 Medical staff protest lack of funding which has forced hospitals into "emergency mode," August 29, 2021 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Medical staff protest lack of funding which has forced hospitals into "emergency mode," August 29, 2021
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Over 500 Israeli medical interns and residents resigned on Thursday in protest of the Health Ministry delaying a plan to shorten their shifts from 26 to 18 hours, the Mirsham medical residents organization said.

In a press conference held on Thursday morning, Mirsham representatives said that the government is "single-handedly leading Israel to the largest medical crisis in its history."

"You think the reform will lead to medical professionals leaving their jobs but this logic only ignored the real issue," they said. "People are leaving because they are unhappy, the toll this profession takes is insufferable."

"People are leaving because they are unhappy, the toll this profession takes is insufferable"

Mirsham reps. on the working conditions of medical staff in Israel

In a nationwide protest last year, Israeli medical staff took to the streets to protest their working conditions. Following the rejection of a shift plan proposed by the Health Ministry, some 2,500 medical residents, students and interns announced their temporary resignations.

The plan to gradually shorten shifts was supposed to take effect months ago in 10 hospitals in the periphery of the country. Further implementation across Israel was vague, and residents in big-city hospitals in the country’s center protested that they were being excluded.

 A woman wearing a medical scrub in the resident's protests of the 26-hour shifts. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI) A woman wearing a medical scrub in the resident's protests of the 26-hour shifts. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

Health Ministry throws A-G, Finance Ministry under the bus

The Health Ministry said the decision to postpone implementation was made by Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara.

On Wednesday, the Health Ministry released a statement saying it supports the "just struggle of the interns" but urged the protesters to not follow up on their threats of mass resignation.

“Unfortunately, the Finance Ministry reneged on its commitment to pass a dedicated budget that had been agreed upon by the health, finance, economy and industry ministers," the statement continued.