Doctors protest outside of the Knesset
Doctors protest outside of the KnessetArutz Sheva: Flash 90

Residents at the Sha'ar Menashe Psychiatric Hospital resigned en masse Thursday as part of the months-long nationwide doctors' strike. 

Four days ago, dozens of their colleagues at other psychiatric facilities also resigned. More than 1,000 residents have voted with their paperwork in a similar manner over the past week.

The move came as part of a protest against working conditions for doctors across the country. The residents are also protesting the agreement reached Wednesday between the Israel Medical Association and the Finance Ministry.

According to the doctors' union, the strike will affect all public hospitals across the country Thursday, with operating rooms, clinics and outpatient departments expected to be closed. The Clalit health maintenance organization announced that it would join the strike, closing its clinics in the north and center of the country, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Another country-wide strike action is expected Sunday to affect Clalit clinics, Health Ministry offices and the well-baby Tipat Halav clinics.

“I sympathize with the doctors,” commented a psychiatric direct care worker, who spoke exclusively with Arutz Sheva on condition he not to be identified for fear of reprisals at his workplace. “Some are paid less than a decent legal secretary might make. That is outrageous for professionals to whom we entrust our lives.

“However, I don't think this is the right way to deal with the problem. Victimizing psychiatric patients and their families who have few enough resources as it is, internal or external, is not fair or ethical.”

Work slowdowns and other job actions by the striking doctors have caused psychiatric facilities and the emergency rooms that serve them to turn away patients. Others who are eventually admitted to care are forced to wait hours longer than usual, sometimes creating high-risk situations when medications are not administered on time, he added.

The Sha'ar Menashe Psychiatric Hospital, established in 1949, is located in a village of the same name in the northern part of the country near Pardes Hanna, at the western gate to the Biblical land of the tribe of Menashe. Today it falls under the Menashe Regional Council district.