The medical resident’s union Mirsham expressed appreciation for a new outline presented by Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz on Monday which aimed to solve the crisis over the length of their shifts.
Residents, students and interns have taken to the streets for weeks to demand a reduction of their 26-hour shifts.
“It seems that things are going in the right direction and we are happy about the minister’s announcement,” the union said in a statement.
According to the plan, the first phase will start on March 31, 2022, in 10 hospitals in the periphery. By November 30, 2022, shifts will be shortened in the internal- and emergency-medicine departments in two hospitals in the center of the country.
By March 30, 2023, the outline will apply to the same departments in all hospitals nationwide. A further expansion, which will be decided upon at a later stage, will be implemented by November 30, 2023.
By 2025, all residents, interns and students in Israel will work 18-hour shifts, Horowitz said.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz with Israel’s new coronavirus testing kit, August 8, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A previous outline proposed by the Health Ministry did not say when shifts would be shortened in hospitals in central Israel. That proposal was rejected by the residents as not detailed enough. Earlier on Monday, some of its members submitted their resignations in more than 30 hospitals.
“We want to see the written outline and ensure that it is set bot in terms of budget and commitments beyond what has been said,” the union noted. “To the extent that the outline presented is indeed secured in this way, we believe that it constitutes a significant breakthrough that expresses our position.”
Horowitz vowed that the outline will be kept.
“These milestones anchor my commitment and that of the Health Ministry to complete the process of shortening shifts throughout the country,” the minister said.
“Your struggle is the struggle of the health system; it is my struggle,” he told the young medical staffers. “We will succeed in it together.”
The Israeli Medical Association also welcomed the Health Ministry’s announcement.
“This move will improve both the quality of life of the residents and the medical service,” IMA chairman Prof. Zion Hagay said.