Doctors, Hadassah Reach Agreement; Sanctions Averted

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -

The protracted crisis at Hadassah Medical Center in Yerushalayim, which had nearly been plunged back into sanctions and emergency schedules, was finally resolved on Thursday, following marathon negotiations involving the hospital management, court-appointed trustees and the doctors.

Head of the Senior Doctors’ Union at Hadassah, Dr. Sagit Arbel-Alon, wrote in an e-mail to the doctors that “it was an exhausting journey,” but as of Thursday morning they were returning to work as usual.

A 13-hour negotiating session ended in a complex series of trade-offs, including the dismissal of 30 doctors and a salary reduction for 180 academic staff members, but at the same time called for return of funds for research and private medical services to the doctors, which were taken from them for years without their knowledge to help defray the hospital’s debt, which ballooned to NIS 1.6 billion, according to Ynet.

Another important concession to staff was a commitment to fully implement the agreement signed with the Israel Medical Association three years ago which includes additional global hours, a maximum of six weekly shifts and vocational training days in return for the deletion of some of the employees’ vacation days.

The workers also won a retraction from the Finance Ministry of its announcement on Tuesday that the money they will loan the hospital will be returned depending on the hospital’s financial situation and not automatically after ten years.

“The agreement isn’t perfect, but we are hopeful that its advantages outweigh its disadvantages,” said Dr. Arbel-Alon.

The doctors agreed to limitations on private medical services in the Emergency Room, meaning that a patient arriving through the public track will not be transferred to the private track. They also agreed to a raise in Hadassah’s share from private surgeries to 30 percent.