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The Finance Ministry proposes to grant appropriately trained nurses the authority to write prescriptions, in its economic policy guidelines for 2007. At present that right is the sole prerogative of doctors.

The treasury believes the reform would make better use of nurses' capabilities, particularly in cases where nurses handle community care, and would lighten the load on doctors in an age in which they are increasingly specialized.

The nurses would be allowed to prescribe medications approved by the Health Ministry, such as prescription renewals for chronic patients and in first aid scenarios.

The treasury hopes to streamline the public health system, and also proposes limiting the number of artificial insemination units to 26, and close two cardiovascular surgery units at government hospitals.

Israel has the highest per capita number of artificial insemination units in the world. Every public hospital has a cardiovascular surgery unit, despite the fact that advances in angioplasty have reduced the number of surgeries and many of the units are under-utilized.