The Israel Association of Radiologists reports there is a severe shortage of physicians specializing in the field, report at present, there are 434 in Israel while there is a need for 666. According to a Yisrael HaYom report, this may result in delays in diagnosing patients, an erroneous diagnosis and even fatalities. The officials report that the 53% shortage in the medical specialists results in test results at times taking weeks to be read and interpreted.
According to Dr. Yaakov Susna, who heads the association along with being chief of radiological imaging at Hadassah, today many emergency rooms have a CT scan and some 30% of the patients passing through an ER have a CT for one reason or another. He adds that on an average, there is an annual increase of 15% in the number of CTs, MRIs and ultrasounds administrated, resulting in a need for additional radiologists.
He adds that ironically, while ten MRI units have been added over recent years to minimize delays in scheduling an exam, the Ministry of Health has not increased the budget for radiologists so the exam results sit and wait for a physician capable of interpreting them.
Susna explains radiologists in Israel are sorely overworked, praising their level of expertise, which at times enjoys international recognition he adds.
Prof. Arnon Apek, who heads the Health Ministry Medicine Division, acknowledges the shortage, adding there are shortages in many other areas of medicine as well. The ministry he explains has added 1,000 positions for different medical specialists but it appears this too is insufficient and more must be added in the future.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)