The Minister of Health, MK Yael German (Yesh Atid) addressed MK Moshe Zalman Feiglin (Likud Yisrael Beitenu) in a point of order about the crowded conditions of hospitals and the lack of beds. German stated that, “We must discuss all aspects of healthcare tourism: Today, there is more unknown than is known on this topic. I have formed a committee to investigate the public health system with a sub-committee devoted specifically to this issue. However, I don’t consider the saving of a life from a neighboring country, even from our enemy Gaza, or from Jordan or Palestine should be considered as healthcare tourism, but rather as a humane act. I don’t believe that countries give their neighbors medical attention solely for financial reasons, but rather for the basic principle of human decency.”

German addressed other MKs comments about the crowded hospitals and said: “In the OECD’s report of 2011, it is evident that we must talk about the number of beds, doctors and nurses. We are working to change this. We have received a significant budget increase from the Ministry of Finance, which will allow for more hospital beds, especially in the psychiatric wings. We are planning to deal with it. The Ministry of Health is working tirelessly to increase the number of doctors and nurses. As a result of intense activity and increasing the number of students, we are at a point where some 800 students start studies every year in medical schools throughout the country. With regard to nurses: Last year some 2500 students started studying nursing. This is a significant addition. Today, the number of doctors in Israel is just over the OECD average. However, we don’t plan to rest on this matter.”

German added “A remarkable statistic about Israeli healthcare: The rate of infant death in Israel is lower by 3.5 than the OECD average. This is evidence of the standard of care. The organization recognized the Israeli health system as one of the top five best and most developed. There is still a need to expand the infrastructures in hospitals and to reduce the inequalities that exist within the health system. These are just some examples of what we have to think about. I believe we will be successful.”