‘We’re out of money’: Israel’s public hospitals to stop treating COVID patients

The hospitals are claiming that the state has left them without proper means that would allow them to function properly amid a surging pandemic.

By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News

Israel’s seven major public hospitals announced on Sunday evening that they will stop receiving coronavirus patients on Monday due to insufficient budgets, Israeli media reported.

The hospitals are claiming that the state has left them without proper means that would allow them to function properly amid a surging pandemic.

“The state has broken its agreements with us,” CEOs of the seven major hospitals told reporters in a press conference held in Jerusalem on Sunday. “We’re out of money.”

The hospitals are threatening to stop receiving and treating new coronavirus patients starting tomorrow and said they intend on holding a strike starting Wednesday, which would mean that the hospitals would only provide urgent and life-saving procedures.

The hospitals’ CEOs have said that the state promised to provide public hospitals in Israel with a budget of NIS 300 million, which was never given. Moreover, they said that an agreement signed with the Justice Ministry guarantees an additional budget of NIS 55 million every month as long as the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing, a promise that they claim has not been fulfilled since July.

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“In the current state we can no longer provide services,” Shaare Zedek CEO Ofer Merin said. “We don’t have the medical equipment required or a way to pay our employees salaries. For these reasons we will stop treating coronavirus patients starting tomorrow … [on Wednesday] we will hold a strike – we don’t have another choice.”

Hadassah Hospital CEO Yoram Weiss added that “the people who have most suffered from the unrealized agreements are our employees and suppliers … we had an agreement and it needs to be respected,” noting that “the residents of Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bnei Brak will not have a health system.”

The hospitals included in the announcement are Hadassah Hospital and Shaare Zedek in Jerusalem, Laniado Hospital in Netanya, Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak and the two hospitals in Nazareth.

The announcement comes amid rising cases in Israel and concerning reports of the new Delta variant AY3 having the potential to shut down Israel once again.

Currently, 10 verified cases of people contracting the new variant have been recorded in Israel, eight of whom had recently returned from abroad.