Public health system strikes to protest violence against medical staff

Employees of public hospitals and clinics began a day-long strike on Monday to protest against a series of violent incidents against medical personnel.

The action extends to all general, geriatric, psychiatric and rehabilitation hospitals in the country, as well as health management organizations, the Israeli Medical Association said in a statement.

It started at 7 am and will go on for 24 hours. The strike went ahead despite a plea by Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, director general of the Ministry of Health, that it be called off.

The sites will operate on a weekend schedule and offer only reduced services. The IMA will operate an Exceptions Committee to decide on special individual cases. Outpatient and walk-in clinics will also be on strike, with appointments for check-ups and treatment likely to be cancelled.

“Urgent dialysis services, intensive care, emergency rooms, delivery rooms, premature birth and oncology treatment will function during the strike,” the IMA said. IVF treatments will be reviewed by the Exceptions Committee.

HMOs and district health centers are also expected to reduce their activities, with the exception of gastro clinics for operations that cannot be postponed, day treatment, oncology treatment and for pregnant women late review.

“Despite increasing violence, and despite the number of cases of violence, neither employers nor Health The IMA said that the ministry is making adequate efforts to eliminate cases of violence.

The union is demanding that more security guards and police be deployed in hospitals and they be given more powers against criminals. The union is also demanding strict punishment for those guilty of assaulting the medical staff. It has warned that it will call for additional strikes if there is no improvement within weeks. There have also been sporadic strikes by hospitals and medical centers in the past over violence.

A strike at the Tel Aviv Souraski Medical Center on June 16, 2022, in protest against the recent violence attacks on medical staff. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

deputy health ministry Director General Sefi Mendlovic told the Cannes public broadcaster that doctors have a legitimate right to demand a safer working environment, but assessed that the strike would not be effective because a platform set up last year to enforce change had called for violence to stop. Implementation of the recommendations has started.

“There will be violence in the future as well, but it can be greatly reduced through the measures we have started to adopt and the attackers will be given prison sentences,” Mendlovic said.

Kan said on Sunday that one of the demands made by the IMA from the forum was that the police and security guards posted at hospitals should be able to cure criminals on the spot. The report said that the legal aspects of the request are being looked into.

IMA President Zion Hage told Ynet that if no significant measures are taken to improve the safety of medical workers within a few weeks, the union will call for more strikes.

His comments came the same day a doctor was attacked at a women’s health clinic in Acre. A man who was accompanied by his wife was asked to leave the room during the checkup and slapped the doctor several times and threw objects at her, Ynet reported. The man was arrested.

Last week, police arrested a 17-year-old patient at a women’s health center in Ramle, who was suspected of assaulting a doctor with brass knuckles and kicking him on the head. Doctor needs treatment in the nearest hospital.

The day before, a two-hour stoppage was called at Soroka Medical Center after the parents of a 15-month-old boy who was being treated at the hospital physically assaulted a pediatrician.

Cases of violence against medical staff are not uncommon in Israel. Last June, the doctors’ association had announced a two-day strike to protest against violence against doctors and the state’s alleged failure to implement a plan to deal with such incidents.

Last May, the finance ministry approved a budget to deploy police officers in 28 hospitals across the country amid rising violence against medical staff.

Israel was left without a health minister after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to remove Aryeh Deri from the role to comply with a High Court ruling that he had served as minister due to his previous criminal convictions. was not fit to do.

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