October 4, 2022

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Medical Residents Delay Resignations

2 min read

On Monday, medical residents, who had been threatening mass resignations due to their working conditions, said that they had decided to delay the move.

This is the second time they have done so in the last four days, primarily because the treasury and the Health Ministry are still involved in negotiations.

Shift reduction

Representing the Israeli medical residents, Mirsham has been asking the Health Ministry to reduce the 26-hour long shifts to 16 to 18 hours.

It claims that the long shifts are dangerous for the medical professionals as well as the patients. Mirsham had announced last week that resignations would be delayed until September 12th.

It had said that they were making progress in their negotiations with the government officials, so they decided to delay the resignations.

However, the union said on Monday that it was again delaying resignations because they wanted to give everyone involved in the negotiations a chance because the efforts were quite serious.

A new date for the ultimatum would be announced by Mirsham on Tuesday. Nitzan Horowitz, the Health Minister, is also in support of the demand of medical residents.

He has rested the entire blame for the previous agreement not being followed at the door of the Finance Ministry.

He said that they had shared the details of the agreement and had even established a budget to implement the changes, but the Treasury backed off.

He stated that the finance officials consider the public a ‘burden’ and do not want to spend on public health or education, which can be destructive for the society in Israel.

The dispute

Orna Barbivai, the Economy Minister, said that the medical residents were correct and they should not have shifts that last for more than 18 hours.

She said that they were hoping to see an agreement, as they were fully agreed with the principle. Hundreds of medical residents had given resignation letters last month.

This was due to the long-running dispute over the long shift hours they have to work. The government had previously agreed to reduce the shifts this year by April.

But, an announcement in July had delayed the move until next year in September citing the upcoming elections.

The problem

In order to implement the agreement that was approved between the residents and the treasury, they would need approval for new doctor positions.

This means regulations would have to be changed and it cannot happen when the Knesset is in recess. Medical residents had worked 36 hour shifts until 2,000, until an agreement was signed.

The shifts had then been reduced to 26 hours and a 2 hour break was also given. There were appeals to reduce the hours further in 2012.

This had prompted the government to state that medical residents could not work for more than 71.5 hours in a week.

But, these new regulations were not implemented by a number of hospitals, due to which there is increasing demand for reducing the shift hours again, with medical residents threatening to resign.

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