The Israeli Health Ministry joined with the Physicians’ Union this week to issue an appeal for retired medical doctors, asking them to return to work in the nation’s hospitals in order to free up medical staff for work in the dedicated coronavirus departments.
“We are currently in an emergency situation, one that demands of us to appeal to you to come to the aid of our admissions wards and community clinics,” the letter said.
“This is the call of the hour for every person who can donate his or her expertise gained through long years of experience. What our hospitals and community clinics are most in need of are internists, ER physicians, critical care physicians, general practitioners, and pediatricians. All the same, any other physician who answers our call will be welcomed with open arms.”
The ministry underlined that those who agree to return to the hospitals will be sent primarily to non-coronavirus departments due to their most likely being in the older, high-risk category.
Also on Wednesday, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and ministry director-general Professor Chezy Levy together decided to order the immediate admission of paramedics into the hospitals in order to support the regular medical staff.
This comes in response to concern expressed by Coronavirus Commissioner Professor Roni Gamzu three weeks ago over the increase in staff burnout at various hospitals across the country. “In some places, the staff working in coronavirus departments has not been rotated for an exceptionally long time,” Gamzu pointed out. He added that many doctors and other medical personnel are also in quarantine, causing additional pressure on those who remain.
The government has also issued a mandatory call for private practice doctors to report for duty at their local hospitals and/or clinics as well. It’s the first time in the history of the state that doctors have been mandated into service for any reason other than a call-up for wartime.