Medical Interns Staff Furious as Plan for Shorter Shifts Delayed Again

Medical interns disrupted Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s speech with cries about the long hours worked by medical staff. Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid party launched his election campaign in northern Tel-Aviv on Wednesday. 

Although the Health Ministry promised last October to speed up the implementation of a plan to shorten shifts for residents from 26 to 18 hours, the plan has again been delayed on last Sunday until September 2023, to the chagrin of thousands of young doctors who are members of the Mirsham organization.

Medical residents protest in northern Tel Aviv, near residence of the Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Saturday night, July 30, 2022 (Photo: Mirsham)

The government’s announcement infuriated the doctors, who had received promises last fall of urgent implementation after more than 2,500 physicians temporarily resigned and ultimately returned to work. The Treasury has been saying all along that there are not enough hospital physicians available to quickly shorten their workloads. It has also not agreed to allocate the large sums needed to pay for more.

The plan to gradually shorten shifts was supposed to take effect months ago in 10 hospitals in the periphery of the country. Further implementation around the country was vague, and residents in big-city hospitals in the country’s center protested that they were being excluded.

The Lapid-Bennet government promised last year that after the pilot program in the periphery was implemented, it would include all medical centers if a committee established to look into the problem could ensure that medical care would not deteriorate and if money would be allocated.