Report: Gov’t Promised Additional Staff for Hospital in Exchange for Silence

Ichilov medical team at the coronavirus unit, in Tel Aviv. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

An agreement between the government, the Health Ministry and hospital directors regarding the addition of hundreds of positions for medical staff included a secret and unprecedented oral agreement as well, Yisrael Hayom reported Thursday.

Under the agreement, hospital directors committed themselves to not reporting, not warning, and not giving interviews to the media regarding the hospitals’ insufficiency with regard to the treatment of coronavirus patients in serious condition and with regard to other patients in serious condition. This would apply regardless of the hospitals’ actual situation and the quality of care patients receive, and was addressed in conversations with five senior management figures in large hospitals around the country, some of whom are personally involved in the agreement between the Health Ministry and the government.

In a conversation with Yisrael Hayom, a senior Health Ministry official said that in addition to the above, the government also made an unprecedented demand from the Health Ministry, for the first time ever, “to drop the standards of medical care in order to say that we can handle the treatment of coronavirus patients and not enter a lockdown.”

Health Ministry Director General Professor Nachman Ash warned the government that “coronavirus patients may be dying in the streets.”

Yisrael Hayom also discovered that a director of a large hospital in Israel reported Wednesday on his meeting with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, saying that for the hundreds of additional positions for doctors and nurses, which will be added in three stages to hospitals around the country, the hospital directors will say in exchange that “we are keeping up with the overload.”

The director of another hospital said: “The new agreement will help for the fifth and sixth waves of the pandemic, but in the current wave the understanding is that we must make a superhuman effort to absorb, at any price, the medical treatment of seriously ill coronavirus patients – even if the new medical staff are not skilled in treating them.”

A director of one of the largest hospitals in Israel said: “These understandings are not ethical and are not legal, and there are concerns here of misleading the public, who will not receive information regarding the true and very pitiful situation with regard to the level of care for seriously ill patients. The government will be able to continue not deciding on additional restrictions, while at the same time buying the silence of hospital directors, regardless of the price the patients will pay.”

Yisrael Hayom discovered that hospital directors warned on Wednesday that as of now, the situation is already very dire. One of them warned that “hospitals are at maximum capacity. The number of serious cases is climbing every day. Patients in serious condition wait for hours in ambulances outside the emergency room because of the overload. And there’s no way to further reduce the internal medicine wards.”

Another hospital director told Yisrael Hayom: “Currently, in the ICU, a third of the beds have already been taken by ventilated coronavirus patients, and the situation is very serious with regard to how close to capacity the internal medicine wards are. I would not want them to be treating my family in this fashion.”

Another director warned that “in recent days, there has been a very significant rise in hospitalizations – they’re trying to hide this from the public.”

The director of a large hospital added: “The Health Ministry’s demand is that the hospitals find a solution for 2,400 coronavirus patients, and it’s clear that this is absolutely impossible – so what happens is that the healthcare system is being thrown to the dogs in this fashion. This is all because of the heavy and aggressive pressure by Prime Minister Bennett on Health Ministry Director General Prof. Nachman Ash.”

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