Israel: Evaluations to shorten medical interns' shift begins

i24NEWS

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A medical intern signs a letter of resignation at a demonstration for better work conditions for medical interns, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 9, 2021.
Tomer Neuberg/Flash90A medical intern signs a letter of resignation at a demonstration for better work conditions for medical interns, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 9, 2021.

Lapid thanks the interns who 'have been taking care of us and treating us for many years'

Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Monday announced that the government would begin evaluating the possibility of shortening medical interns' shifts to 16 hours. 

Lapid met with Economy Minister Orna Barbivai and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz to discuss the allocation of resources required. The evaluations will begin so that an agreed-upon outline can come into effect by September 2023, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office. 

In October 2021, nearly 2,600 medical interns resigned to protest the 26-hour shifts in a letter delivered by Dr. Ray Bitton, head of the Mirsham organization of medical interns.

After meeting with Lapid's Chief of Staff, Naama Schultz, and speaking to Lapid via telephone while the prime minister is in Berlin, Bitton agreed to withdraw the letters of resignation. 

"The shifts of the interns are insane, their conditions for making life and death decisions are impossible," Lapid said in a statement, thanking Bitton for her help. "I promised that we will do everything to shorten the times, we will harness the health insurance funds and the hospitals with us."

He mentioned the interns who "have been taking care of us and treating us for many years," saying, "it is time for us to take care of you again."

Horowitz also welcomed the evaluation, thanking Lapid and noting that the shift shortening "is possible and necessary to start immediately."

Bitton also thanked Lapid, Shultz and Barbivai, calling on the Finance Ministry to pass the budget to start the process of officially shortening the shifts.

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