New Hope for healthcare

Background

The healthcare system in Israel is one of the best in the world and is a source of national pride, due to the quality of our doctors and nurses, and the sense of mission that accompanies them in their work. However, the corona crisis has proven that in the last decade the required resources have not been invested in our healthcare, and it is facing a chronic lack of beds and advanced equipment.

New Hope will work to improve the level of the healthcare system, closing gaps in medical services between the periphery and the center, and place Israel at the forefront of medical research and technology. Targets will be set for improving the medical services for citizens and shortening waiting lines.

1. Reform in the management of the health system

The Ministry of Health currently serves both as the owner of some of the hospitals and as a regulator and supervisor in the field of medicine in general, and the hospitals in particular. The dual role creates a conflict of interest and prevents the Ministry of Health from focusing on its main role as regulator of the field of medicine in Israel. We will establish a national authority for the management of hospitals and work to strengthen the Ministry of Health as a regulator.

2. Adjustment of training in line with the OECD

The proportion of nurses and doctors in Israel is low compared to OECD countries. The rate of doctors per 1,000 people in OECD countries is 3.5 on average, while in Israel this rate is only 3.1. Moreover, while the average rate of nurses per 1,000 people in OECD countries is 9.2, in Israel this rate is only 5.1. We will increase the standards of doctors and nurses in hospitals in a multi-year program. We will work to expand the number of physicians by increasing the scope of training of students in medical schools in Israel and establishing a dedicated program for the training of Israeli physicians who have studied abroad. In addition, we will reduce the gap in the nursing workforce and work to prepare training tracks for medical support staff in the missing professions.

3. Shortening shifts

Doctors who specialize in hospitals have to deal with long and exhausting shifts that risk impairing their ability to work. To solve this problem we will adjust the shift hours according to the nature of the area of medicine, and types of shifts. We will examine various alternatives and promote this issue for the benefit of doctors and patients.

4. The launch of health services in the periphery

There is a considerable gap between the medical services provided to the residents of the periphery and those provided to the other residents of the country. The rate of physicians per capita in the center is 2.5 times higher than the rate of physicians per capita in the periphery. The bed rate is about 2.4 per 1,000 people, while in the periphery the bed rate is only 1.4. Through the provision of incentives and other methods, we will work to repair this inequity.

5. Strengthening community health and home care

The healthcare system is currently operating under tremendous pressure and heightened workload in hospitals. In order to alleviate the congestion we will strengthen the inpatient and diagnostic medical services in the community, with a future trend towards moving to advanced remote medical services. We would also promote a program for the provision of home medical care, home rehabilitation and home hospice care. Thus at a low cost we can significantly improve the quality of life of citizens and prevent future hospitalizations and complications.

6. Improving the ability to choose

We will prioritize citizens’ choice in the health system by implementing increased competition between existing HMOs and examining the establishment of a new HMO. We will also encourage the opening of new services in remote peripheral areas.

7. Preventive medicine and a healthy lifestyle

Today, most of the health budget is devoted to treating illness. Promoting preventive medicine and a healthy lifestyle are the most effective ways of promoting healthy living and extending the healthy life expectancy of the population. We will provide budget for initiatives aimed at encouraging healthy lifestyle in a variety of ways: sports activities, addiction prevention, healthy eating and a healthy mind. We will define a government budget for the various government authorities (the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Welfare, and the IDF) that will be dedicated to the issue of healthy nutrition, mental resilience and a healthy lifestyle.

8. Incentives for Health-tech ventures

Israel can and should be the global leader in the field of health-tech. We will work to create incentives in areas that combine medicine and digital health and we will remove regulatory barriers to enable entrepreneurs to utilise Israel’s relative advantage in these areas, and make digital health an engine of growth for the economy.

9. Streamlining purchase of advanced medical equipment

According to current regulations, the purchasing and procurement of medical equipment involves a complex bureaucratic procedure, which hinders the provision of care for citizens. We will work to alleviate the restrictions on purchase approval for medical devices. In this way, we will work to match the rate of medical devices per capita to the rate accepted in the OECD, widen accessibility, and shorten wait times for advanced equipment.

10. Strengthening mental health care with an emphasis on children and youth

Mental health services are an important pillar in the preservation and strengthening of health and mental health resilience in Israeli society. This importance increases especially during periods of crisis such as we have experienced over the last year, and in instances when dealing with addictions, and anxiety, with often severe mental consequences. Unfortunately, the field of mental health care has suffered from many years of neglect. There is an acute shortage of public psychological services, and in particular in the care of children and youth. In addition, mental health hospitals are in a state of years-long neglect. We will promote a program to strengthen the mental health system. This will include a five-year plan to raise standards and shorten waiting times for public psychological and psychiatric services. We will improve the conditions and status of psychologists, and build infrastructure and expand access to services throughout the country. In addition, we will initiate a national program to combat the phenomenon of addictions in Israel.

11. Adapting the “medicine basket” to the needs of the population

Currently, the basket of drugs provided through the HMOs is updated only after negotiations between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance – without provision by law regarding the required regular update. Moreover, in the years when the health basket budget is not approved it does not cover the drugs that have already been approved in previous years. In order to enable certainty and long-term planning for the system, we will work to enact a permanent formula according to which the health basket will be updated every year.

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