(Video: Eli Mandelbaum)
Nurses and administrative employees of the Hadassah Medical Organization’s (HMO) two Jerusalem hospitals joined on Monday extensive demonstrations by medical workers - who have been on a reduced Shabbat schedule - calling for the payment in full of January salaries.
More than 1,000 demonstrators from the Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus branches were marching toward the Knesset where they were scheduled to hold more protests of the Treasury's backing to freeze all HMO's financial obligations ahead of a ruling at the Jerusalem District Court to uphold the move.
Maternity ward, intensive and emergency care unit staffers have continued operation as normal despite the protests, which started last Tuesday.
Doctors in hospitals across the country were set to hold worker's sanctions from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday in solidarity with the Hadassah workers.
Without full paychecks entering the banks, the two hospitals will, until further notice, begin to run on an emergency schedule, with fewer services than a Shabbat schedule and only lifesaving and urgent care, including delivery rooms, being provided.
The immediate spark for sanctions was news that management, with Treasury backing, was going to the Jerusalem District Court to freeze all of HMO’s financial obligations and put an external trustee, lawyer Lipa Meir, in charge along with director- general Avigdor Kaplan.
President Shimon Peres urged the government, the management of Hadassah, the striking physicians and all others concerned to find a speedy solution to the crisis so that the current situation would not be to the detriment of thousands of patients from Jerusalem and beyond..
Speaking on Monday at the opening of an Akim event at the President’s Residence, Peres said that he was aware of the importance that the government and the doctors attached to resolving the crisis as quickly as possible. As a former Finance Minister and taking into account other positions that he held, Peres said that he knew how vital it was to cause as little suffering and discomfort as possible to the general public. In the case of Hadassah it was even more so, he said, because doctors and nurses have to work around the clock. Hadassah, with all its flaws, is a hospital of the highest standards he said and urged the government to quickly ensure that it retains its glory.