Finance Ministry to nurses: Return to negotiating table

After talks with the ministry hit a wall, nurses say they will stop receiving patients in internal medicine wards operating over capacity.

Hospital 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hospital 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
After talks between the Finance Ministry and nurses union broke down late Tuesday night, the ministry on Wednesday issued a statement calling on the union to "immediately return to the negotiating table and to stop disruptions at hospitals across the country that come at the peak of winter."
The statement added: "In recent days there have been discussions between the Health and Finance Ministries on steps needed to ease the load on hospitals and within these discussions we are examining the possibility to add more beds to hospitals."
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The nurses union announced Tuesday night that beginning Wednesday morning, nurses will not admit new patients to internal medicine departments of hospitals once they reach 100 percent capacity.
The union reached the decision to enact the partial strike after negotiations with the Finance Ministry broke down on the issue of relieving the distressing state of hospitals, particularly overcrowding. The union added that the sanctions are in protest of the situation where patients are lying in the corridors of the nation's hospitals.
Some 90 hospitals operating above capacity were expected to be affected by the move.
A Nurse from Wolfson Medical Center told Army Radio that in the internal medicine ward, where most patients are geriatric, many of the locations where patients are placed are not even weatherproofed for the winter.
Earlier on Tuesday, the doctors' union petitioned the High Court following the state's inaction to add hospital beds. The petition sought immediate relief of 100 extra beds in intensive care units and 500 in internal medicine departments within a year.