Keshet N.1, Gabay E.2, Rotem Lehrer N.3
1Israel Physical Therapy Society IPTS, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2Physical Therapy Union, Tel Aviv, Israel, 3Hadassah Medical Organization, Jerusalem, Israel

Background: In 2007 an audit by the Higher Education Commission (HEC)) found a shortage of clinical placements and recommended that the number of students should be lowered by 10%. They further stated that steps should be taken at the national level to solve this shortage. The HEC adopted the recommendations but other than getting a special committee to suggest steps to implement this recommendation did not take further action. Despite the recommendation current programs took in more students and a new program was approved further exacerbating the shortage. When a new program was approved, in a private collage in 2012 it was understood by the Israeli association (union) and society (foundation) that it was time to act.

Purpose: In a coordinated effort which included few periods of stopping all clinical education in the public sector, a student strike, intensive advocacy efforts, the HEC established a special committee to form recommendations on all aspects of clinical education, including placements, pay, duration and more. When the HEC accepted all recommendations of that committee but did not to cancel the approval of the private school the society and association petitioned to the supreme court.

Methods: Part of the decision process in that stage included the decision to hire one of the best litigators with financial significance this decision included. The supreme court process included many steps in which the state - HEC, health ministry and treasury- were slowly required to implement all recommendations of the different committees.

Results: This included: lessening the number of students and establishing a process in which the number might go up in the future, a new and much improved payment system which ensures equality between private and public sectors and universities, a shared responsibility of the HEC and health ministry to supervise quality and quantity of clinical placements and a clear guidance by the supreme court to the HEC regarding the cancellation of approved program. The supreme court in its decision praised the physiotherapy association and society, crediting them for the changes made on behalf of public interest. The court also emphasized the importance of clinical education of physiotherapists for public health.

Conclusion(s): Although the decision to go on an "all out war" was not an easy decision, and there were many obstacles and difficulty during the 3 years process, taking responsibility for such a core issue – clinical education- by the organizations proved itself as the right step to do.

Implications: In times when many countries are faced with opening of new programs and similar difficulties with clinical placements, and /or unemployment, it is our experience that there is a large place for the national organizations to take a growing role in the process.

Funding acknowledgements: The work was unfunded

Topic: Professional issues

Ethics approval: Ethics approval was not required

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

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