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Doctors Criticize Cabinet Move to Set Up Panel on Medical Crisis

June 6, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The government’s plan to resolve the health care crisis got a resounding thumbs down from the medical and allied professions as soon as it was announced after Sunday’s Cabinet session.

Doctors, paramedics and representatives of other employee groups at the government and Histadrut hospitals condemned the plan. They said they would continue their strikes, slowdowns and other work sanctions in defiance of the Cabinet.

The ministers decided unanimously, after a stormy five-hour session, to establish a government commission to examine the state of the health services and make far-reaching proposals to overhaul them. They would be binding under the law.

Although the details were not announced, the panel presumably would be headed by a judge and include experts in the fields of medicine and administration.

In the interim, the Cabinet established a ministerial committee to resolve the most critical problems. It consists of Premier Yitzhak Shamir, Foreign Minister Simon Peres, Finance Minister Moshe Nissim and Health Minister Shoshana Arbeli-Almoslino.

The dispute that has crippled health care in Israel for months is largely between hospital personnel and the Treasury over wage-related issues. The Cabinet called on the employees to end their job actions and give the two panels a chance to work.

But Dr. Yehoshua Weissbord, who heads the doctors’ union at the government hospitals, demanded immediate agreement to one of his group’s major demands: the establishment of afternoon shifts in operating theaters. The purpose is to reduce the backlog of patients waiting for elective surgery and enhance the income of doctors.

“It’s not our fault the government’s taking months to move,” the doctor said. “We won’t stop our sanctions until they understand what has to be done, and do it.”

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