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Strike at Hadassah Medical Center Driving Doctors to Quit

Doctors begin to leave Hadassah hospital, transfer elsewhere, as financial crisis remains unresolved.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 2/5/2014, 6:07 PM

Doctor
Doctor
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The ongoing strike at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem has unintended consequences, Maariv notes Wednesday. According to the daily, several doctors have chosen to quit their jobs and are looking to transfer to other hospitals. 

"The dreaded exodus has begun," said Dr. Sigal Arbel-Alon, Director of Senior Staff at Hadassah. "We are bleeding our best people out of the hospital. There isn't a single person who is not affected by it." 

The strike began Tuesday at both Hadassah Ein-Kerem and Hadassah Mount Scopus medical centers, as a backlash against the Finance Ministry for stalling in negotiations to expand the hospital's budget. The budget cuts have been hurting patients, according to the staff, and the staff is reeling after a month on half-pay. 

As a result, the centers decided to close their doors Tuesday, operating on the schedule normally reserved for Shabbat and holidays. 

"We've closed the gates and are urging people to look elsewhere for anything but urgent medical care," Dr. Arbel-Alon stated. "Everything else has been postponed." 

Following the drastic step, the Knesset decided to hold a hearing about the crisis on Monday, in the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee. Avigdor Kaplan, CEO of the Medical Center, Professor Roni Gamzo, Director of the Ministry of Health, will both attend the hearing.

Meanwhile, hospital staff and the organizers of the strike are due to meet with Avi Nissenkorn, chairman of the Finance Ministry Trade Union Department, in an urgent Wednesday night meeting.  

"The administration's conduct will inherently lead to a dead end in negotiations," Nissenkorn stated. "I call on the management to take responsibility and immediately cease taking these unilateral steps in order not to worsen the damage caused to the hospital, staff and patients [because of the strike]."

The Finance Ministry issued a response to the strike Wednesday assuring that negotiations to end the strike are currently underway.

"Hadassah Medical Center is a centrally important medical center in Israel which finds itself in a financial crisis, as a result of both management failures and failures to pay employees their wages," the statement reads. "The government has conducted intense negotiations with hospital staff in recent months to bring it back to a full recovery and to ensure that it follows a balanced path that ensures its independence." 

"The government is willing to provide significant aid as part of the hospital's rehabilitation," the statement continued, "but the aid must be distributed effectively, including providing compensation for the staff's missing wage payments. The decision has not yet been made and the Ministry continues to work with the hospital staff." 



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