Seven Israeli Public Hospitals in Emergency Mode

Shaare Zedek hospital team members wearing safety gear as they work in the Coronavirus ward of the hospital in Yerushalayim on Tuesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Seven Israeli public hospitals will switch to “Shabbos mode,” accepting only patients for life-saving treatment, beginning Wednesday, due to a persistent financial crisis, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Yerushalayim’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Hadassah University Medical Center, Netanya’s Laniado Medical Center, Bnei Brak’s Ma’ayanei Hayeshua Medical Center, and three hospitals in Nazareth, are all located in cities classified as red or orange. On Monday they stop accepting COVID patients.

These hospitals have been protesting their financial difficulties since January, claiming they have received only half the funds allocated to beds in government-owned hospitals. At the time, funds were transferred to these hospitals, averting a strike. Since the beginning of summer, hospitals have reported the cessation of payments.

On Monday the directors general of the Health and Finance ministries, Prof. Nachman Ash and Ram Blinkov, met with other relevant officials to ensure the restoration of these funds.

“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.”

Hospital authorities are not satisfied. “No negotiations have been opened with us, no one talks to us,” they said. “We cannot pay suppliers with understanding and sympathy for our problems. We demand to open direct negotiations to resolve the crisis. Tonight the Prime Minister takes off from here [to America] and leaves us to fight COVID with cartridges without bullets. We expect him to intervene in the crisis.”

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