Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has finally become involved in the health crisis which threatens to see hundreds of medical residents resign this week. Netanyahu met with representatives of the residents in his office in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
They demanded amendments to an agreement signed between the Finance Ministry and the Medical Association. The prime minister, on his part, asked the residents to hold off on their resignation for a few days in order to review proposals suggested during the meeting.
A statement issued at the end of the meeting said that the residents will give an answer to Netanyahu's request after consulting on the matter with their colleagues.
Having heard about the residents' harsh working conditions and criticism on the current agreement, Netanyahu said he understood their plight and appreciated their efforts to ensure proper work conditions.
The meeting was also attended by Medical Association Chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman and the Finance Ministry's Wage Director Ilan Levin. However, Levin and his staff left the meeting shortly after it began as no negotiations were taking place but an overview of the issue, and to allow an open discussion between the residents and the prime minister.
Eidelman said at the end of the meeting: "The prime minister has learned of the problems the residents have raised. He took the matter very seriously and took it upon himself to study the matter asking them to delay their resignation for a few days to consider the proposals. I hope that he will get this time. No decision has been made yet."
The residents now must review the proposals suggested during the meeting with their colleagues from various hospital and give their response. More than 700 young doctors resigned one month ago and their resignation letters are meant to go into effect this week.
The Health Ministry said that Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman met with Netanyahu earlier on Tuesday to try to find solutions to the crisis and in an effort to avoid damage to the health system.
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