While Finance Ministry officials have trying to damp down talk of tax relief in light of the 12.5 billion shekels surplus, pressure has come from another direction — a plea for allocations to the healthcare system made by Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman, The Jerusalem Post reported.
In a letter to Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Eidelman said that a massive infusion of funds is needed to prevent the public health system from collapsing.
“There isn’t a single public hospital in the country that isn’t forced to struggle daily with financial problems that affect the level of treatment,” he told Lapid. “Patients wait in queues for unbearable amounts of time. Tests and operations are canceled or unavailable to many patients. Hospitals are forced to reduce their supply of necessary equipment and drugs to patients.”
Eidelman described a situation that is getting worse and worse, with hospitals plagued by shortages of beds, and doctors and nurses forced to work day and night.
“There is a shortage of hospital beds the like of which does not exist anywhere in the developed world.
“If the system has difficulty coping with this, how will it be able to manage with a major security catastrophe that could happen any day?” he asked.
Public health expenditures, only 7.7 percent of the gross domestic product, is among the lowest in the developed world. In Europe, it is 10%, while in the US, it has reached more than twice Israel’s rate – 16%, said Eidelman.
“We doctors of Israel call on the government to change its priorities.
Asked to comment, Pnina Shalev, spokeswoman for Health Minister Yael German said that “she prefers to do and not to talk.”