Rambam Hospital’s Medical Residents withdraw Resignation Letters

Medical residents working in Haifa’s Rambam Hospital withdrew their resignation letters that they had submitted over an ongoing dispute regarding long shifts.

But, the hospital chief had threatened the residents that they would be fired if they did not take back their resignation letters.

Resignation letters

There has been a dispute ongoing with the Health Ministry about the 26-hour shifts that the medical residents are required to work.

About 200 medical resignations across Israel had submitted their resignation letters last week, which would go into effect two weeks later.

This gave the Health Ministry about 14 days to take action and prevent trainee doctors from leaving their positions.

On Wednesday, the Rambam Hospital disclosed that all 25 residents who had submitted their letters or resignation had chosen to retract them.

This was two days after Michael Halberthal, the director of the hospital, had threatened to fire them. He welcomed the step of the residents.

The director also said that he would continue working on finding a solution to the long shifts and also work on providing the hospital staff with improved working conditions and to promote public health.

Halberthal had called a meeting on Sunday with two residents and had given them two days to withdraw their letters or get sacked.

The issue

He had also told the residents that even if the framework proposed for reduction of shift hours is implemented, it would take time for it to be applied to the hospital.

Reports indicated that some of the residents had been in tears by the end of the meeting. The issue is that trainee doctors currently have to work for 26-hour long shifts.

They have been lobbying to have these reduced to 16 to 18 hours, claiming that both patients and medical professionals are put at rest because they have to work for an extended period of time.

This affects their concentration and can lead to mistakes.

The government

Initially, the government had agreed to reduce the shifts this year in April, but an announcement in July stated that they would not implement the change until September 2023.

The government said that this was in light of the elections scheduled for November 1st. Last Thursday, a press conference was conducted by the Mirsham organization that represents Israel’s medical residents.

It said that 200 medical residents were submitting resignation letters and more would come if the government does not resolve the crisis.

Orna Barbivai, the Economy Minister, had said that she had given approval for the framework proposed because she is in support of the demand of the doctors.

But, she said that their hands were tied because of the upcoming elections. This is because no changes in regulation can be made, as the Knesset is currently in recess.

The government had come up with a plan of reducing shifts last October after thousands of residents had submitted their resignations.

Until 2000, medical residents in the country had had to work 36-hour shifts, which were reduced to 26-hours, along with a break of two hours.

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