In the last decade, the Israeli healthcare system dealt with many casualties that resulted from terrorist actions and at the same time maintained preparedness for other potential hazards such as natural disasters, toxicological, chemical, radiological and biological events. There are various models for emergency preparedness that are utilized in different countries. The aim of the article is to present the structure and the methodology of the Israeli healthcare system for emergencies. Assuring emergency preparedness for the different scenarios is based on 5 major components that include: comprehensive contingency planning; control and command of operations; central control of readiness; capacity building; coordination and collaboration among the numerous emergency agencies. CLose working relationships between the military and civilian systems characterize the operations of the emergency system. There is a mutual sharing of information, coordinated operations to achieve risk assessment and determine priorities, and consensual allocation of resources. The ability of the medical system to operate in optimal coordination with interface bodies, including the Israel Defense Forces, is derived from three main elements: the shortage of resources necessitate that all agencies work together to develop an effective response to emergencies; the Israeli society is characterized by transition of personnel from the military to the civilian system which promotes joint operations, whereas in most other countries these systems are completely separated; and also developing mechanisms for continuous and coordinated operation in routine and emergency times, such as the Supreme Health Authority. The Israeli healthcare system was put to the test several times in the Last decade, during the terror wave that occurred between 2001-2006, the 2nd Lebanon War and in operation "Cast Lead". An extensive process of learning lessons, conducted during and following each of these periods, and the existence of a mechanism which facilitated the definition of a systematic policy and the examination of its implementation, enabled the healthcare system to provide medical services to the population and to improve its preparedness by an ongoing process.
|Pages (from-to)||445-450, 480|
|State||Published - Jul 2010|