Pay Scales of Doctors in Israel

The Finance Ministry published the pay scale of publicly employed doctors in advertisements taken in the daily press today. The figures were immediately disputed by the Medical Association which pointed out that the gross income of physicians represented compensation for more than 100 hour of work per week compared to the 40-45 hour week worked by most other employed persons in Israel.

The Finance Ministry ran the ad in connection with the three month strike by government and Histadrut doctors for higher salaries and better working conditions. Virtually all doctors in Israel are employed by the government or the various sick-funds. Few, if any, have a private practice. Their salaries cannot be compared, therefore, with the income of doctors abroad, particularly in the U.S. Israeli doctors earn far less than their American counterparts.

The basic salary of a newly graduated doctor starting his internship last January was equivalent to $360 a month at the prevailing rate of exchange. The base salary of a senior hospital director last January was the equivalent of $637 a month. The base salary is the means for calculating pensions and other benefits.

But it is usually tripled or quadrupled by overtime, extra shifts, weekend duty, travel and book allowances and various other allowances, some 16 items in all. These raise the monthly earnings of an interne to $1,000 and of a senior hospital director to just under $3,000 before taxes.

But taxes and various other deductions consume almost half of the gross salaries. The heavy work load and long hours at hospitals leave senior physicians and specialists little time to accept the few private patients willing to pay for medical treatment or unwilling to endure the long wait for non-emergency operations or other treatment.

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