Doctors on Sunday rejected a deal that aimed to put Hadassah Ein Kerem's bankrupt budget under control, in a move that practically guarantees a new wave of strikes at the beleaguered hospital.
Representatives of the doctors' unions said at a press conference Sunday evening that the deal would require them to take too big of a salary cut, making it untenable for them.
Doctors expressed their opposition to the new deal last Friday, saying that more than 1,000 doctors at the hospitals will have to pay more than half a billion shekels ($144,864,500) in taxes to save the hospital as part of the deal.
The doctors also said that the cuts the government demanded would hurt patients. “The state wants to close hospices, and we oppose this,” said Dr. Leonid Idelman, a head of the doctors' unions. “There are many similar proposals we oppose.”
According to Idelman, Hadassah doctors earn less than doctors anywhere else in the country. “We have not been successful in communicating this to the public,” he said.
“We do not say that cutting the budget is important, and we do not believe that the hospital has to be saved at all costs. But what we do want to save at all costs is the level of medical care we can provide. We want to ensure that this resource is available for Israelis 100 years from now. Without doctors we cannot do this," added Idelman.
In February, a major strike at Hadassah Medical Center over poor working conditions drove several senior members of both Hadassah Ein Kerem and Hadassah Mount Scopus to quit, fed up over the hospital's inability to compensate for missing wages and frustrated over the tedious negotiations.
The strike began a backlash against the Finance Ministry for allegedly stalling in negotiations to expand the hospital's budget.
The budget cuts have been hurting patients, according to staff who were reeling after a month on half-pay. As a result, the centers decided to close their doors, operating on the schedule normally reserved for Shabbat and holidays.
The strike eventually ended with an interim agreement stipulating that the wages of Hadassah employees who earn less than 15 thousand shekels a month will not be cut. However, a permanent agreement has not yet been signed, frustrating workers and leading to concerns of another strike.