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Nurses Striking in Israel

Unable to continue working at maximum capacity, the nation’s nurses have launched a strike today, Monday, 19 Kislev 5773. Health officials report that the ratio of nurses per 1,000 patients in Israel is almost the lowest among OECD nations, with Israel second to last, followed by Mexico. The breakdown in negotiations over an expected salary increase was the last straw for union representatives.

Nursing leaders explain that are pained by the decision to walk off the job, realizing the anguish to patients, but they also realize that unless they do something to bring the dire situation to the head of the cabinet agenda, the situation will not improve. Nurses explain that the cannot endure seeing the suffering of patients day in and day out, aware that much of the burden of patient care falls on family members due to the dire shortage of nursing staff. Patients without family at their bedside to assist and advocate on their behalf are truly unfortunate, for in many cases, the basic care is substandard.

Negotiations broke down last week, compelling the union leaders to launch the open-ended strike. While nurses expected a salary increase in the beginning of 2013, talks hit a dead end last week. This prompted union leader Elana Cohen to announce the strike.

The strike, impacting hospitals around the country, does not include the Levinstein Rehabilitation Hospital or psychiatric hospitals. This results in the cancelation of elective surgeries, many outpatient clinics and many other services. Essential services such a outpatient ontological and dialysis services for example seem to be on regular operating schedules.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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