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Nurses End Strike After Deal With Finance Ministry To Solve Manpower Shortages
Date Posted: 21/Jul/2020
The National Nurses Union and the Finance Ministry reached an agreement Monday to end a general strike that began earlier in the day over manpower shortages at Israeli medical centers. The agreement will see the addition of 2,000 temporary nursing positions and 400 doctors’ positions in the state-run healthcare system and the hiring of additional security personnel at sensitive locations. A team will be formed to agree on permanent staffing numbers within a month.
 
The sides also agreed to have nurses work in a “capsule” system in which they’ll work during set shifts to prevent spreading of the coronavirus. A final decision was still to be made on salaries for nurses required to quarantine after being exposed to a virus carrier.
strike
The agreement came after several hours after Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Finance Minister Israel Katz announced they would hire 2,000 more nurses and 400 doctors and purchase additional medical equipment “to enable optimal coping with the challenges of the coronavirus,” according to a joint statement from the ministers.
 
The ministers also agreed to spend billions of shekels to boost COVID-19 testing levels for the winter and to purchase more flu shots and equipment to improve health maintenance organizations’ telemedicine capabilities. The statement didn’t say specifically how much would be allocated to these areas.
 
Earlier Monday, nurses had launched a general strike after last-ditch talks with the Treasury seeking to prevent the strike failed, saying manpower shortages have made it impossible to continue their work.
 
The increase came after the Health Ministry said 1,008 new cases were recorded on Sunday, down markedly from recent daily increases.
 
The Coronavirus National Information and Knowledge Center, a government body operating under the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate in cooperation with the Health Ministry, has noted that though there has consistently been a decrease in new cases after weekends — when testing levels typically drop — the number of tests performed this weekend “decreased significantly from the trend” of recent weeks.
 
While the number of new cases per day dropped to the low dozens by May, Israel has seen a surge in infections since it reopened schools, rolled back limitations on movement and eased most restrictions on the economy. The government has reimposed far-reaching restrictions in a bid to halt the continued rise in new infections, but is at odds with the Knesset on the extent of the new measures.
 
Source: timesofisrael
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