The health system is Israel suffered a critical blow on Monday as hundreds of medical residents, who have grown tired of "getting the runaround," as they call it, from the Treasury and the Israel Medical Association (IMA) officially resigned, plunging the health system into chaos.
The State Prosecutor's Office has filed for an urgent Labor Court injunction against the resignation, asking the court to order the residents to return to work until a solution is found.
- Residents seek Netanyahu's intervention
The residents initially tendered their resignation to their respective hospitals in September, but were ordered to delay the move by the National Labor Court.
Hectic negotiations took place up until Monday morning, but faces with "a bureaucratic brick wall," the residents announced they were officially walking out.
The residents' representatives, who defined themselves as "former employees" of their respective hospitals said that they felt abandoned by the State and that the Treasury's negotiations were not held in good faith.
"This is a difficult time for us. A desperate time for many of us," the residents' representative said at a press conference called by the residents in Tel Aviv. "It's now up to the Treasury to solve this problem."
Hospitals to take emergencies only (Photo: Yaron Brener)
The residents urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intervene in the crisis without delay, saying it was time for him "to demonstrate leadership for the sake of national interests."
"We're fighting for the nature of the public health system. This is a just fight, a fight for values and morals. But we can't go up against the Treasury – we're doctors. So the Treasury wins again and the public and the doctors lose. Our work is a vocation and we perform it in good faith, but that cannot be used to trample all over us."
Many of the residents have already secured other positions, they added. "The State of Israel is the only state in the world that failed to understand that doctors are a precious commodity. We have no intention of looking back," one of the residents told Ynet.
'Lives are at stake'
A Rambam Medical Center official said some 74 residents failed to report for duty, and overall, 120 of the Haifa hospital's residents submitted resignation letters.
"It's time for Treasury to realize that this is not about time or money – human lives are at stake," a Rambam Official told Ynet.
Rambam announced that given the situation its emergency departments will be acceptation only urgent cases, adding all elective treatments and procedures have been suspended.
Over 120 of the residents working at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv opted not to show up for their shifts.
"These are quality residents," a Sourasky official added. "If they're choosing to walk out that they really have reached the end of their tether."
According to the Health Ministry, walkouts have been noted at the Edith Wolfson Medical Center in Holon (31 residents) Beni Zion Hospital (18 residents), Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba (71 residents) and at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Zerifin (seven residents).
During a press conference held shortly after by the Tel Aviv medical students' representatives, they announced that the students believe "there is no point in launching the school year."
"We're not interested in entering a public heath system that's being taken advantage of by the government," explained Anton Varshavsky, of the Medical Students' Association.
According to him, the government "cynically abuses the Hippocratic Oath and deprives doctors of their basic right to say: 'We can't take it any longer.'"
Ahiya Raved and Boaz Fyler contributed to this report
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