Hospitals Warn They’ll Turn Away Ambulances If Funding Needs Not Met

Medical staff from seven hospitals in Israel at a protest outside the Ministry of Finance in Yerushalayim demanding increased budgeting. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In a move that dramatically underlines the financial plight of Israeli hospitals in the coronavirus crisis, several of them said that they will stop accepting ambulances carrying patients that do not require life-saving treatment, The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.

“Due to a severe shortage of equipment and medicine, we inform you that as of Sunday, January 24 at 6:00 AM, it will not be possible to refer to us any ambulances and patients who are not defined as in need of life-saving treatment, including coronavirus cases,” read the message that the country’s seven public hospitals sent to Magen David Adom, the national emergency service.

For the past week, hospital directors have been protesting in front of the Finance Ministry for an immediate funding increase to meet the demand of patients which has soared during the pandemic. They say that currently their budgets per bed is about half of that of other hospitals.

Earlier in the day, about 400 medical staff joined the hospitals’ directors in the protest outside the ministry, and appealed directly to Prime Minister Netanyahu to intervene.

“Your struggle is right and we all identify with it,” Health Ministry Yuli Edelstein said while meeting the facilities’ representative on Wednesday. “We understand you do not want to solve it just with a Band-Aid solution, even if it is the best Band-Aid. I will work with the government to reach the best solution.”

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