Doctors, Govt. Make Progress to Save Failing Hadassah Hospital
Doctors, the state, and Hadassah Hospital management have come to an understanding on changes to be made to a plan that will, all parties hope, restore Hadassah Ein-Kerem Hospital to financial stability. An all-night meeting overnight Wednesday resulted in an agreement framework that would satisfy demands by unions representing doctors. However, some details still need to be worked out, officials said.
According to the plan, the state will concede on a point that doctors had demanded be removed from the previous agreement; the state had demanded that any salary cuts for doctors, which will be treated as a “loan” to the hospital by doctors, would only be repaid in ten years, while doctors had demanded that the repayment could be made at any time before if the hospital's financial situation warranted it.
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, the fact that a permanent agreement had not yet been signed led to concerns of another strike.