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Doctors Strike Disrupts Services

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About 8,000 doctors went on strike over the weekend, disrupting government and private hospitals all over the country, including Hadassah-Hebrew University Hospital in Jerusalem.

The issue is second shifts in operating rooms, for which physicians receive overtime pay.

The second shifts are intended to reduce the waiting time for elective surgery, which has often been as long as a year. The Finance Ministry says the additional pay conflicts with the government’s national wage policy and has demanded that the second shifts be canceled.

The issue is before the High Court of Justice. But the Israel Medical Association decided to call a strike in advance of the court hearing.

The result is that some 4,000 non-emergency operations scheduled for this week had to be postponed.

Second-shift pay was introduced several months ago at hospitals run by Kupat Holim, Histadrut’s health care agency. Doctors at other hospitals demanded equal treatment.

The Medical Association has exempted Kupat Holim hospitals and outpatient clinics from the strike for the time being.

They are being held in reserve for the possibility it would become necessary to apply tougher sanctions, the association said.

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