Senior Israeli Doctors to Donate Salaries in Support of Residents' Struggle

Mass resignation of residents in protest at new deal over pay and conditions takes effect on September 4; senior doctors declare open support, pledge funds.

Medical committee heads and senior doctors announced Monday that they will donate part of their salaries to support residents who oppose the deal over pay and conditions signed between the Doctor's Labor Federation and the Finance Ministry the last week.

Dozens of medical committee heads and senior doctors from Ichilov Hospital, Tel Aviv, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Meir Hospital, Kfar Sava, Assaf Harofeh Hospital, Tzrifin (IDF base) and Abarbanel Mental Health Center, Bat Yam have agreed to ‘adopt’ residents that have resigned from their position, and to take them under their wing.

medical resident, medical residents, doctors strike
Ofer Vaknin

From September 4, over one thousand resident doctors from hospitals across the country are resigning from their posts in protest at pay and conditions.

Each senior doctor will donate one day’s salary to a central fund, which will be used to support protesting resident doctors who resign after September 4. Additionally, the senior doctors involved in the initiative decided to donate their holiday gift vouchers in order to support the young doctors.

Those involved in the initiative said that they had no intention of helping get hospitals back to operating normally before the struggle of resident doctors is resolved. “Steps will be taken, while ensuring the safety and health of patients,” the doctors’ representative said.

On Sunday, doctors called for the involvement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in halting the resignation of resident doctors. Later, head of the Israel Medical Association, Dr. Leonid Eidelman, urged residents to back down from their resignation.

“The fight is over,” Eidelman wrote in a letter. “We achieved the aims we established at the outset.”

An agreement was finally signed between the Finance Ministry and the Doctors' Labor Federation Thursday afternoon, ending a five-month-long struggle. The agreement, which was expected to drastically change the face of Israeli medicine, was the achievement of negotiations that dragged on for almost a full year, starting in September 2010.