A plan announced by ministers on Wednesday that would see internal medical teams reduced to 6 p.m. by 2026 was immediately rejected by representatives of doctors-in-training, who said it did not go far enough and announced that thousands of them would show up instead. resignation letters Thursday.
According to the proposal, only residents of 10 hospitals in outlying areas would see their work shifts reduced by 26 hours. The plan would extend to all hospitals later, but only if the necessary budget can be found and a committee set up to look into the matter finds that there has been no deterioration in the standard of medical care.
The Mirsham organization of medical interns said the proposal would initially improve the working conditions of 10 percent of medical interns and that as a result, resignations of up to 2,300 would be submitted on Thursday. According to Channel 12, the resignations would only take effect in two weeks.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, speaking to Channel 12, said he was flabbergasted the interns were not “celebrating” the government’s proposal. He said the healthcare system was not prepared for a massive resignation of essential medical staff.
“I don’t understand the point of resigning instead of celebrating the plan [to reduce shifts]», Declared the Minister of Health.
“We are not prepared for a massive resignation tomorrow. I hope that doesn’t happen and I don’t know what it would be like, ”Horowitz added.
Representatives of medical interns, however, insisted and said the government’s compromise would not be enough.
“We welcome [the plan], but unfortunately that’s not enough, ”said Dr Ray Bitton, head of the organization that demands that 25% of interns be given shortened shifts, according to Hebrew Media.
“We have presented clear requirements for the appearance of the plan, but at the moment there is only a reduction to 6 p.m. in peripheral areas of the country, not in internal medicine departments or wards. emergency, and there is no promise for the plan to continue, which means it cuts shifts by just 10 percent of interns, ”she told public broadcaster Kan.
“Therefore, we apologize to the citizens of the State of Israel and tomorrow we will announce the resignation of 2,300 students and interns,” Bitton said.
At a press conference in Jerusalem, Horowitz and Economy Minister Orna Barbivai announced the proposal but admitted that they were acting under duress, so it was not ideal.
“The plan is not perfect,” Barbivai said. “But the most important thing in this program is a breakthrough that marks a goal based on the value of what we expect of the next generation of physicians when it comes to working relationships, and the working hours are just that. part of the story. “
Horowitz said the proposal marked a breakthrough after years of inaction on the issue of internship hours.
“After years of discussions, we took action. So far, no one wanted to touch the problem and escaped like wildfire because it is so complex and tangled. And instead of postponing it over and over again as has been done so far, we have decided to take action, ”he said.
Horowitz said he saw no benefit in interns resigning, saying the process of reducing hours would take time due to the additional doctors needed.
“I don’t understand what this will help. We’re heading towards them, but it takes time because more doctors are needed, and it makes sense to start on the periphery and then move it across the country. I want this to happen immediately for everyone, but there are not enough doctors and we have to do it gradually, ”he said.
The interns have organized a number of events on this subject in recent weeks; About 500 protested outside Horowitz’s home in Tel Aviv on Monday evening, and 10 were arrested.