MDA leaders are trying to torpedo a bill that will be tabled next Sunday to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, which seeks to combine MDA and United Hatzalah call centers.
The bill is being promoted by MK Idit Silman (Yamina) together with MKs Moshe Gafni (UTJ) and Yinon Azulai (Shas). With the approval of the bill, a long-standing struggle between MDA and various other emergency response organizations will come to an end, and Israel will adopt a practice similar to many other parts of the world, in which all calls for emergency services will be directed to a single call center.
The Health Committee, headed by Silman, discussed the issue in depth, heard the representatives of the organizations involved and experts in the field, toured the existing call centers, saw how the calls were handled in real time, and came to an unequivocal conclusion that a shared call center was needed.
According to MK Silman, to date there have been dozens of tragic incidents in which people waited for an MDA ambulance for 15-20 minutes, while a paramedic from another rescue organization was two minutes away from the incident, but did not receive the call.
"In the committee, we heard shocking testimony from parents whose toddler suffocated at home and remained crippled for life due to long ambulance response times, while a United Hatzalah medic on their own street was not alerted to the incident. We went to see how information is actually passed between organizations. I ask you - am I, as a public figure, supposed to only support one organizaiton or the other? Not on my watch," Silman stated.
The law will be discussed in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation this coming Sunday and has the full support of MK Moshe Gafni, an opposition member who has been trying for several years to promote a similar initiative.
MK Silman said: "MDA is a professional and decorated organization. We are in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and there is no doubt that the members of the MDA do sacred work. I personally accompanied them and cooperated them even before becoming an MK."
"Rarely do we, as elected officials have the opportunity to promote an initiative that will undoubtedly lead to a significant improvement in the quality and availability of life-saving emergency medical care, and if this bill saves even one person, we've done our part. '
Silman rejected the MDA's claims and says: "When one of us needs emergency assistance, I promise you will not be interested in whether the person who saved the convulsive child or the father who had a heart attack comes from the MDA, United Hatzalah, or anything else. Keep your stories about "harming the quality of care," or about "harming our standing with the Red Cross" for someone else."
'I emphasize that, contrary to the stories and lies, there will be no change in the current call center protocols. The only, and significant, change will be the addition of special overseers by the Ministry of Health, who will supervise the transfer of information. MDA's power and independence will not be harmed, in contrast to the fearmongering we've heard."
'Saving a life is not a commercial business, but a mission for all of us. This important law will be passed on Sunday - it will be passed in three readings, God willing - and will correct a long-standing injustice," Silman stated.