Residents: 'My friends and I have decided to resign'

Hundreds of medical residents don't show up for work; at press conference, resignations are announced; no injunctions issued; "It's not the doctors that led us to this depressing situation."

doctor strike haifa_311 (photo credit: Piotr Fliter/Ramban Medical Center)
doctor strike haifa_311
(photo credit: Piotr Fliter/Ramban Medical Center)
Medical residents announced their decision to resign at a press conference Monday morning, after hundred of residents reportedly did not shown up for their shifts earlier in the day.
"My friends and I have decided to resign," the residents' representative Dr. Gabi Heran said, calling on the labor courts not to order them back to work.
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"We respect the court," Heran continued, "far more than Finance Ministry wages supervisor Ilan Levin. Today we will ask the court not to issue an injunction or confinement."
"It is not the doctors that led us to this depressing situation," he added. "It is the state that needs to take responsibility for its actions."
Also speaking at the press conference, Dr. Oren Feldman asserted that only Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's involvement could solve the crisis. "I turn to you, Mr. Netanyahu. Please intervene."
According to Army Radio, a total of 260 residents did not show up for their morning shifts: 104 at Ichilov Hospital at Sourasky Medical Center, 71 at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, 77 at Rambam Medical Center and eight at Bnai Zion Hospital.
Following the failure of the negotiations to produce a solution to the labor dispute, the sides had been expected to meet at the National Labor Court on Monday, where the state will likely request an injunction be issued against the resignations.
Thus far, the National Labor Court has declined to let residents resign over what they claim are unfair conditions agreed upon in the Israel Medical Association’s nine-year labor agreement with the employers, which was signed at the end of August.
After walking out on the talks with the Finance Ministry, the medical residents' representatives expressed frustration with the Treasury's "failure to understand the reality of the situation" and called on Netanyahu to intervene.
Without a compromise, all the sides have much to lose, as the physicians would not be given their jobs back once they carried out their threats to leave, and the Health Ministry desperately looked for other doctors to fill their places.
To prevent outright chaos in the event that the residents resign from their posts in the wards and emergency rooms, the Health Ministry opened a situation room in its Rehov Rivka office that would coordinate and make arrangements for specialists to fill the holes; ministry officials know that the arrangements would be only temporary.
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich and Joanna Paraszczuk contributed to this report.