Doctors strike
“Doctors want to make as much as cleaners do,” says a protest sign at Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava. Photo by Alon Ron
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The agreement between the Israel Medical Association and the Finance Ministry regarding doctors’ salaries and work conditions is going to cost an additional 2.7 trillion NIS over the current budget, after mediated talks finally bore fruit on Wednesday morning.

This is a 47 percent increase over the deal that was brokered in November of 2008. Although the mediated agreement appears to be a significant improvement for doctors’ work conditions and salaries, dozens of doctors have demonstrated at hospitals across the country because the agreement was made without consulting them first.

“We don’t know the details of the agreement, even though we have requested to be part of the negotiating process for quite some time,” Dr. Eliaz Miller from the Ichilov Hospital doctors’ union said on Wednesday. “It is inconceivable that they would reach a deal without consulting us first,” he added.

All doctors are to receive a 24 percent raise in salary, and doctors in the periphery as well as specialists in lower-paying fields will receive additional increases in pay. Some will receive additional economic incentive of up to a 70 percent raise for fields deemed in “acute need”. It was also agreed that specialists will receive up to an 86 percent increase in pay.

The agreement did not include a “full-time” model, which was discussed during negotiations, a model aimed at rewarding doctors who worked exclusively in the public medical system who would forfeit working in the private sector.

Doctors will also clock in and out of work, allowing them to be paid overtime. The doctors’ work week will be shortened to five days, with a flexible eight-hour-workday framework based on the department management.