Doctors - Tomer Appelbaum - July 31, 2011
Doctors march in front of the Knesset in Jerusalem, July 31, 2011. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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The Israel Medical Association is returning to stepped-up strike action. There will be work stoppages in all public hospitals tomorrow, and a general strike in hospitals is planned for Sunday.

The IMA is resuming the strike action it has carried out since April, while in parallel conducting negotiations with the treasury in line with the Supreme Court's ruling Tuesday. A panel of three justices granted the doctors and the treasury one more week for continuing their negotiations.

The union has also decided to expand the strike action to include community clinics of the Clalit health maintenance organization, something it had done only a few times in recent months.

According to the decision of the IMA secretariat, tomorrow's strike will affect laboratories and outpatient clinics in hospitals. Only urgent surgeries and oncology work will be carried out. The clinics of the Clalit HMO in the Tel Aviv, central, Jerusalem and northern districts will also take part in the strike.

The general strike in hospitals scheduled for Sunday will include psychiatric and geriatric hospitals, as well as Clalit facilities.

On Monday, the next round of hearings is scheduled in the Supreme Court, and public medicine in Israel will operate without interruptions.

The Supreme Court panel, headed by Court President Dorit Beinisch, ordered the two sides to present the court with reports on their progress in the negotiations by Monday.

The court asked the IMA to avoid work stoppages during the week of negotiations, but the organization's secretariat decided to proceed with its strike action.

Last week saw reports of a breakthrough in the negotiations between the doctors and the treasury, but this week disagreements emerged between the two sides, mostly over the issue of medical personnel having to punch the time clock.