With attacks on doctors on the rise, ministry approves budget for hospital cops

The Ministry of Finance on Friday approved a budget for the hiring of police officers who will be stationed in 28 hospitals across the country, following the escalation of violence against medical personnel in recent weeks.

The budget measure, which is expected to be approved by the government on Sunday at its weekly cabinet meeting, will devote an annual operating budget of 20 million shekels (nearly $6 million) to hospital security, with a plan to financing of 50 agents through the project. .

The budget was formed by an agreement between the Ministries of Finance, Health and Public Security, as well as the hospitals.

Medical staff at hospitals and community clinics across Israel went on strike earlier this month in response to recent violence against medical staff at a number of hospitals.

The Israel Medical Association, announcing the May 19 strike, had called for a police presence in every emergency room and said hospitals and community clinics needed improved security systems.

The association has also called for a change in the law so that an attack on medical personnel is considered with the same severity as an attack on a uniformed police officer.

The strike was called after family members of a patient who died at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem attacked medical staff and caused extensive damage to the intensive care unit after being informed of his death after taking an overdose.

After hearing the news, several members of the patient’s family smashed the unit’s doors and windows, damaged the nurse’s station, computers and equipment, and attacked staff. Two staff members were slightly injured, requiring medical attention. A number of people have been arrested in connection with the attack.

The past year has seen a growing wave of attacks on medical teams and facilities across the country.

Last week, a patient pepper sprayed a doctor at a psychiatric hospital in Beersheba.

In a separate case of violence, dozens of people tried to force their way into the trauma ward of Galilee Medical Center in Naharia on May 18 after being informed of the death of a 28-year-old man, a resident of Abu Snan, who had had a motorcycle accident.

Video from the scene showed the crowd, mostly family members, brawling with hospital guards, who were forced to use pepper spray to disperse them.

In November, nurses at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa went on strike for several hours to protest a violent incident in which staff members were beaten and threatened by the family of a dying cancer patient.

Earlier the same month, Rambam said he had to forcibly remove dozens of people who had gathered outside the facility after a victim of violence was brought in for treatment. According to hospital officials, riot police were called to the scene to prevent the crowd from entering the hospital.

And in Beersheba, four people were injured and 19 were arrested in a massive scuffle outside Soroka Medical Center that included gunfire.

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