Doctors Threaten to Strike Hospitals Thursday

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel’s public hospitals will likely be running with minimal staff on Thursday, as doctors are threatening a strike over salary and work issues that remained unresolved as of Tuesday.

The Israel Medical Association accused the government of acting “unilaterally and lacking good faith” in negotiations. “The goal of the strike is to create dramatic changes in the working conditions, salaries, and statuses of doctors,” said the IMA.

“We are protesting the intention to prohibit the right of doctors to perform private work or practice. These rights have been in place for decades and have been enshrined in collective agreements and civil service regulations,” the statement continued.

The Health Ministry has sought to restrict the right of senior physicians to perform outside work to supplement their income, offering a salary increase instead, so that they will be able to focus better on their responsibilities in the public hospitals.

“It appears as if the doctors aren’t particularly worried about the public health system, but rather more their own pockets. The goal of the Ministry of Finance is to strengthen the public health system, and we would expect senior doctors to welcome that,” an official told Ynet on Tuesday.

If negotiations fail to avert the strike, hospitals will work according to Shabbos protocols, according to which all nonessential treatment and surgeries will be postponed.

The strike is expected to increase the workload in hospitals and extend already long waiting periods for patients.