Some 2,360 medical interns, led by the Mirsham (Prescription) organization, tended their conditional resignations in protest of the 26-hour shifts they are forced to work as new doctors.
Representatives of the interns arrived at the Health Ministry in Tel Aviv on Thursday and submitted the resignations letters which state that if the issue is not resolved in two weeks’ time, their resignation will take effect.
“This resignation is presented to you, the Minister of Health, with a heavy heart and with no choice due to shifts of 26 hours of continuous work. Without sleep or rest, we are unable to perform medical operations or make fateful decisions about the lives of our patients who depend on us. In this work format, we cannot provide the best service they need and deserve, as expected of us – doctors and physicians. This employment also harms our personal health and the lives of our families,” the letters state.
“You [minister of health] have broken your promises to shorten shifts for all interns without exception and stuck to a tiny course instead of the possibility of bringing about a real achievement. This letter was sent after our efforts were of no avail. Therefore, we, the undersigned, each one personally and with a heartache, have come to the conclusion that we are unable to continue,” the letters add.
The interns are demanding that their shifts be shortened from 26 to 18 hours, saying that the long hours and subsequent fatigue are harmful to the patients and to themselves.
The government has presented a phased program that would take five years to be fully implemented, a plan the interns rejected.
Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz’s staff attempted to prevent the interns from resigning. Senior members of the Mirsham organization met Wednesday with Horowitz’s chief of staff, but the meeting ended without results.
Horowitz stated that “this is an unnecessary step. A gradual process is required. I do not understand how resigning like this will help and what it will achieve.”
The Health Ministry refused to receive the letters of resignation, and after the interns’ representatives realized this, they pasted them on the front door and placed the binder carrying the letters on the floor at the entrance to the office.