Medical Care during the Holidays can be tricky in Israel especially if you do not speak Hebrew. During the holidays, many medical offices and hospitals are operating on Shabbat mode. Shabbat mode means that personnel is cut to minimum staffing, many clinics are not operational, and routine, non-emergency health services are not provided. Shabbat mode effects hospitals, emergency rooms, urgent care centers, pharmacies, clinics, and private medical offices.
Medical offices have fewer operational hours (or none), so they are typically overbooked the limited hours they are open. Don’t forget that Medical Care during the Holidays includes the eve of holidays! The eve of a holiday (Erev Chag) is usually a half working day (the day before the holiday), with offices and pharmacies closed around 12 noon.
What does this mean for me?
This means that it will be more difficult to get an appointment with your doctor, take care of medical tests, or even get efficient care in a hospital. The hospital departments that are working, as usual, are intensive care, delivery rooms, and the dialysis unit. The emergency room will be very crowded because people cannot get appointments with their doctor.
Do not depend on any medical services during the intermediate days (Chol Hamoed) of Sukkot!! These are the day in-between the first day of Sukkot and Simchat Torah.
To ensure a healthy holiday, follow these EMA Care tips:
- If you are on daily medication, fill your prescriptions BEFORE the holiday.
- Lab hours may be shorter or changed. Check the lab hours online before you leave the house.
- Schedule important doctor appointments before Sukkot begins.
- Expect longer than usual wait times if you are seeking care for a medical emergency or an urgent medical.
Also note: Public transportation may be limited (or not available at all) and may end early – especially on the eve of holidays. There also may be road closures due to parades and festivals, and holiday activities.
EMA Care wishes you a wonderful holiday! Medical care may be a bit more complicated, but Sukkot in Israel is a time to slow down and relax. Everyone at EMA Care wishes you and your family a Chag Sameach!!