ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Public health system to strike next week over violence against medical staff

Union announces hospitals and clinics will offer reduced services on Monday after patient assaults doctor at women’s center in Ramle

Illustrative: Nurses strike at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in protest of violence against medical personnel, July 4, 2018. (Courtesy: Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital)
Illustrative: Nurses strike at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in protest of violence against medical personnel, July 4, 2018. (Courtesy: Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital)

Staff at public hospitals and clinics will go on strike next Monday in response to a string of violent incidents against medical workers, the doctor’s union announced Thursday.

The announcement came after police arrested a 17-year-old patient at a women’s health center in Ramle who was suspected of attacking a doctor with brass knuckles and kicking him in the head. The doctor required medical treatment at a nearby hospital.

The Israel Medical Association said hospitals and clinics will operate on a weekend schedule for all of Monday, offering reduced services. The association will operate a committee to decide on special individual cases.

“A strike is never the default choice for us,” said Prof. Zion Hagay, the association’s chairman. “But the violence in the health system turned into an epidemic some time ago, and almost every day red lines are crossed. On Monday, doctors say no to violence, no to lawlessness.”

On Wednesday, a two-hour stoppage at Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center was called after a pediatrician was physically assaulted by the parents of a 15-month-old boy who was being treated at the hospital.

Prosecutors on Thursday filed charges against the couple, residents of the southern town of Yeruham, for attacking a civil worker.

A screenshot taken from a video showing parents of a toddler assault a doctor at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba over his refusal to expedite treatment for their son, January 16, 2023. (Twitter/Screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

“We made it clear ahead of time that yesterday’s strike at Soroka is just a warning strike, and today we have no alternative but to seriously consider a strike in the entire health system, so that someone in the government will wake up and put an end to this lawlessness,” Hagay said before the association convened Thursday to discuss holding a strike next week.

Such cases of violence against medical staff are not uncommon. Last June, the doctor’s union announced a two-day strike to protest violence against medics and the state’s alleged failure to implement a plan to combat such incidents.

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