On Thursday at 2 p.m., about two hundred medical residents in Israel submitted their resignation letters because of a long-running dispute with the Health Ministry about the lengthy shifts they have to take.
Representing Israel’s medical residents, the Mirsham Organization, stated in a press conference that the first stage was the resignation of 200 residents.
However, it added that more would come if the crisis was not resolved. The organization gave the Health Ministry until 2 p.m. to fulfill its demands.
The head of Mirsham, Dr. Rey Biton said that there would be resignation letters submitted every Thursday in similar numbers.
She addressed the government and said that they hoped it would wake up before the letters of resignation take effect, which usually happens in two weeks.
She stated that they were not worried because they did not have anything to lose. Originally, the government had agreed to reduce shifts this year, but a new announcement was made in July.
This said that there would not be a change until September 2023, which had angered the residents. But, the government had cited problems due to the upcoming elections in November.
Biton said that the resignation letters that have been submitted were given with trembling hands and an aching heart.
She said that they were evidence of the government’s failure to fulfill its promise of ending 26-hour shifts.
She went on to say that they would see the worst health crisis in the history of Israel, if the government does not take any responsibility and continues to use elections as an excuse.
Biton added that the government was forsaking patients and doctors and they could no longer stand the injustice and pay the price.
She said it was hurting their health and that of their patients. There are 26-hour shifts for trainee doctors currently, but they want them to be decreased to 16 to 18 hours.
They have claimed that working for such extended periods of time affects their ability to concentrate, which endangers their own health and that of their patients.
Other than the 200 residents who submitted their resignations on Thursday, there were also 300 interns who had also signed resignation letters and threatened to submit them if the Health Ministry does not reduce shifts.
The Health Ministry has 14 days to resolve the matter, as the resignation letter only comes into effect two weeks after it has been submitted.
On Wednesday, Nitzan Horowitz, the Health Minister, had backed the protesting residents and blamed the Finance Ministry entirely.
He said that the Health Ministry is in support of shortening the shifts and they also had a budget in place for accomplishing it.
However, he stated that it was the Finance Ministry that had not fulfilled its obligations and had prevented the implementation of the process.
He said that he wanted to see the employees of the Finance Ministry work for 26 hours. The government had committed to a plan of reducing shifts last October.
This had happened after thousands of residents had resigned, but the government eventually postponed the plan this year.