Ministry Greenlights Budget for Stationing Cops at Hospitals

Recent weeks have seen the number of attacks on medical staff in hospitals across Israel increasing. In light of these events, the Finance Ministry has given its approval for a budget that would be used for hiring police officers. There are 28 hospitals all over Israel and these cops would be stationed there. It is expected that the government will approve this budget in its weekly cabinet meeting scheduled for Sunday. As per the measure, a total of NIS 20 million annually would be set aside for ensuring security at hospitals. The project plans on providing funds for hiring about 50 police officers.

An agreement was made between the Public Security, Health and Finance ministries for making the budget and hospitals also gave their input. Earlier this month, the medical workers at community clinics as well as hospitals in the country had gone on strike because of the violent incidents that were occurring against them at different hospitals. The strike had occurred on May 19th and had been announced by the Israel Medical Association. They demanded that the security systems of these clinics and hospitals be improved and that their emergency rooms should have a police presence.

In fact, the association went as far as to say that legislation should be amended so that the severity of an attack on any member of the medical staff is considered with the same severity as one on a police officer. The incident that led to the strike occurred at the Hadassah Medical Center. A patient had died in the hospital in Jerusalem and family members attacked the medical staff when they were informed of his death. Even though he died of a drug overdose, they wreaked havoc and the intensive care unit underwent a lot of damage as a result.

The relatives of the patient broke a number of windows and doors upon receiving the news of his death. They attacked the medical staff and damaged the equipment, computers as well as the nurse’s station. Two of the staff members had to be administered medical treatment due to injuries. Several arrests were made after the attack. The number of such attacks have increased in the last year at medical facilities all over Israel. In the previous week, a doctor was pepper-sprayed by a patient in Beersheba at a psychiatric facility. Likewise, on May 18th, the Galilee Medical Center’s trauma room saw dozens of people trying to force their way in.

This was after the death of a 28-year old man from Abu Snan, who died due to a motorcycle accident. A video showed a scuffle between hospital guards and family members and the latter had to use pepper spray. The nurses at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa had also gone on strike back in November because of a violent incident that had happened. Family members of a cancer patient had threatened and beaten the staff. In the same month, the hospital had seen a victim of violence brought in, which had drawn a crowd of people outside who had to be forcibly removed.

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