Several Israelis hospitals halted admission of coronavirus patients on Monday, citing a budgetary crisis that the government has long failed to address, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The move followed a warning issued by the directors of seven public hospitals on Sunday that they would be forced to take drastic measures if adequate funding was not urgently made available to enable them to resume full operation.
In the meantime, on Monday Magen David Adom started to evacuate the patients to other facilities which are still accepting coronavirus patients.
The protesting hospitals said that from Wednesday they will switch to Shabbos mode, providing only emergency care.
“I’m ashamed to stand here like a beggar,” said Shaarei Tzedek CEO Prof. Ofer Marin during a press conference in front of the Health Ministry.
“The State of Israel is violating the agreement with the public hospitals. None of the clauses of the agreement have been fulfilled. Our suppliers have collapsed. Our employees may not receive holiday pay. Our patients may not receive optimal care,” the Post quoted him as saying.
A previous protest ended in January after the government promised to provide the needed financial support. Hospital officials contended that their facilities had received only about half the funds per bed that government-owned hospitals received.
However, the funds have not been forthcoming.
On Monday, the Directors Generals of the Health and Finance ministries met with other relevant officials to ensure that the money is released to the hospitals as soon as possible.
According to a statement, they said that in the agreement the government committed to the budget the first part of the year, but the ministers will work to maintain it for the rest of 2021 at an accelerated pace.
“I fully appreciate the sacred work that is being carried out at the hospitals in Israel, especially during this challenging period,” Blinkov said. “I expect that the public hospitals will continue to provide answers to the Israeli public at this complex time in light of our commitment to maintaining the agreement with them in full.”