Doctors Unhappy Over Hadassah Hospital Deal

Interim agreement being 'forced' on doctors, frustrated physicians say, and they will be forced to pay half a billion shekel in taxes.

Tova Dvorin ,

Hospitals empty due to strikes (illustrative)
Hospitals empty due to strikes (illustrative)

Jerusalem's Hadassah hospitals and the government are finally coming close to an agreement over the budgetary crisis there, but its doctors are not happy about the deal. 

The Committee for Hospital Doctors expressed resistance to the direction of negotiations, Channel 10 reported Friday, saying that the terms are being unilaterally forced upon them. 

Frustration at the slow-moving crisis boiled over several weeks ago, sparking renewed protests. Management and employees struck an interim understanding last week, under which employee wages will be reduced for three years, and 30 doctors and 200 hospital staff will be let go.

Doctors stated Friday that they do not support the agreement, 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. They asked for its own internal review of the deal. "Only then will we make a decision," they said, in a statement. 

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.