Doctors Threaten All-out Strike at State-run Hospitals on Sunday

All non-urgent operations and treatments to be canceled, outpatient clinics shut during strike; urgent surgery, treatment to be provided according to decision of local doctors' committees.

The Israel Medical Association has declared a general strike in state-run hospitals on Sunday. Today the doctors will continue to impose sanctions in state hospital operating theaters, performing only oncological and urgent surgery.

Escalating its struggle against the Finance Ministry, the IMA intends to launch a general strike in all state hospitals on Sunday, with the exception of Safed's Rebecca Sieff Hospital.

The latter will operate as usual due to the Lag Ba'omer pilgrimage to Har Meron planned on Saturday night and the holiday activities there on Sunday.

During the strike all non-urgent operations and treatments will be canceled, and outpatient clinics will be shut. Urgent surgery and treatment will be provided according to the decision of local doctors' committees for emergency cases. Emergency room, intensive care and delivery room activities will continue as usual.

The doctors plan to hold a protest rally and light a bonfire in Tel Aviv on Lag Ba'omer on Sunday, to show they are no longer willing to "put out fires."

"The doctors are no longer willing to carry the system on their backs, no longer ready to provide patients with treatment that is too little, too late," said IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman.

Yesterday the doctors held struck Clalit health clinics in Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Petah Tikva, Haifa and the Haifa suburbs. Well-baby clinics, municipal and school doctors and public health offices were closed in the health fund's Tel Aviv, Haifa, central and northern districts.