All over the world, healthcare systems are struggling to provide the service their patients demand while also working within the legal and budgetary constraints set by governments or other institutions like insurance companies and hospitals. Digitization of medical records and new medical technologies have yet to touch large swathes of the world's medical institutions. In many countries, because of differences in the way records are kept, healthcare services and organizations are unable to "talk" to each other and cannot share data. That makes for inefficiency; if data cannot be shared between institutions, things as basic as blood tests need to be repeated each time a patient goes to a different doctor or institution. Israel's health care system, although consistently highly rated in international surveys, suffers from the same infrastructure issues: hospitals can be overcrowded, and non-critical patients sometimes wait for operations.
Jerusalem - There is mounting evidence that Israeli ambulance crews are withholding treatment from Palestinians injured during a wave of attacks over the past six months, according to rights groups. Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, a medical watchdog group, found that wounded Palestinians had been left untreated for as long as two hours. In some cases, medical teams are suspected of failing to tend to the injuries of suspected attackers as revenge, in the expectation that they will die from their wounds. In parallel, says the group, Israeli soldiers regularly deny Palestinian crews in the occupied territories access to injured Palestinians in violation of international agreements. Palestinian ambulances have been regularly fired on and paramedics attacked as they tried to reach the scene.
As the two million Palestinian residents of Gaza enter their 11th year under a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt, the many daily hardships they face are having an increasingly adverse effect on physical and mental health, particularly for the most vulnerable. Life for the people of Gaza has become characterised by soaring unemployment, acute fuel shortages, electricity supply for a couple of hours a day, a crippled water and sanitation system, prison-like movement restrictions, and the ever-looming threat of full-scale Israeli aggression on the horizon. Given the current local and international political landscape, conditions seem likely to deteriorate further, compounding adverse conditions for health and pushing a basic and fragile health system ever closer to collapse. The largest potential catastrophe facing public health in Gaza is the latest energy crisis, which has left Gaza's health sector on the brink of collapse. Following the shutdown of the Strip's only power plant after it ran out of fuel, Gaza's 14 public hospitals and 16 health facilities now "face partial or complete closure of essential services", according to the World Health Organization (WHO).