Israel facing ‘catastrophe’ if thousands of doctors leave, expert warns

Science and Health

Since the third reading of the law to reduce the Reasonableness Standard was passed in the Knesset, over a thousand Israeli doctors have expressed interest in relocating outside of Israel.

Prof. Meir Oren, former director of Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, warned that “even if only hundreds of doctors leave, it will be a catastrophe” in an interview with Aryeh Eldad on his program on 103FM on Friday.

Oren noted that the crisis in the health care system did not start with the reform legislation. “The neglect of the health care system created an unbearable and very difficult environment,” Oren said. 

The former hospital director pointed to “the lack of standards, the workload, the very long shifts, and the desire of the younger generation for a better balance of work, family, and quality of life,” stressing that “this wave is a combination of the political and the personal.”

Oren added that “the numbers quantitatively are misleading because we have a basic shortage of doctors and specialists. We have a system, but the truth must be told honestly that the system cynically exploited the value of the doctors and blackmailed them to the hilt.”

MED STUDENTS demonstrate in Tel Aviv in support of doctors, interns and residents who resigned in protest of 26-hour-shifts and heavy workload in hospitals, October 17, 2021 (credit: MIRSHAM)

At least three senior doctors have left Israel so far

Earlier this week, KAN news reported that two senior doctors had left Israel in light of the judicial reform, including a leading doctor in the Ophthalmology Department at Sheba Medical Center and the director of a unit at Rabin Medical Center. Dr. Zion Zibly, former director of neurosurgery at Sheba Medical Center, also left Israel earlier this year due to the reform.

The Organization of State Employee Physicians told KAN that it is believed that more doctors are in the process of moving. The Israel Medical Association held an emergency meeting on the matter.