Israel’s Public Hospitals End Two-week Strike After Securing Government Funding

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Doctors striking in front of the Ministry of Health in Jerusalem, last week.
Doctors striking in front of the Ministry of Health in Jerusalem, last week.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Israel’s seven public hospitals declared an end Sunday to their two-week strike, after reaching understandings with the Finance Ministry regarding funds they were promised.

According to the understandings reached between the hospital directors and the directors-general of the finance and health ministries, the hospitals will receive 960 million shekels by the end of the year. A statement from the hospitals said their representatives would form a committee with the two ministries to reach an agreement on next year’s budget by November.

The hospitals on strike were Hadassah University Hospital and Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, Laniado Hospital in Netanya, and the English Hospital, the Holy Family (Italian) Hospital and St. Vincent de Paul Hospital in Nazareth.

The public hospitals informed the Health Ministry and the Magen David Adom ambulance service two weeks ago that they were striking and would carry out only emergency procedures. They had already stopped admitting coronavirus patients, citing their demand for more funding and staff. “We cannot pay suppliers with understanding and sympathy for our problems,” the hospitals said at the time.

The directors of these hospitals warned about a month ago that they were on the verge of collapse because of financial shortfalls. They said that they were having difficulty purchasing essential medical supplies, that they couldn’t pay their suppliers on time, and they had to call a halt to many projects. The hospitals said they were to have received 800 million shekels by the end of the year, but they received only about 550 million.

As opposed to government hospitals and those owned by the Clalit Health Maintenance Organization, public hospitals belong to non-profit associations, and their status in terms of state funding is different. The directors of these hospitals have long sought to receive government funding comparable to other hospitals.

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