Hundreds of Hadassah Medical Organization employees, who have waited 19 days to receive their full January salaries, prepared to bed down Tuesday night on mattresses in the atrium of the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
On Wednesday, when they awaken, they will continue the drastically reduced emergency schedule in the Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus hospitals that have induced any patient who doesn’t have to be there to go elsewhere.
But their gimmicks, including demonstrations around the city, have so far proved fruitless.
Health Minister Yael German and Prof. Ronni Gamzu, her director-general, visited staffers in Ein Kerem on Tuesday calling on them to return to work immediately and restart negotiations, before the government uses is option of court issued backto- work orders.
German said they wanted to speak to the workers’ committees and make them understand that the only “captain” at HMO is Avigdor Kaplan, its director-general.
“I found devoted workers who love Hadassah,” said German afterwards. “I asked them to join hands to restore Hadassah to regular activities and accept the recovery program, because the solution is not in the hands only of the government but also in the workers’ hands.”
She did not comment on how the HMO will be able to pay the February wages at the beginning of March. A concern that rises as the month is short and the hospitals have taken in very little income in recent weeks.
The Histadrut labor federation said that the 6,000 employees have turned into “hostages of HMO and forced to pay time and again the price of the failures of management.”
In 2013, thousands of shekels, owed to the workers, were taken as part of a previous recovery program, the labor federation said.
The threat now is dismissals, pay cuts, cancellation of higher job grades and cancellation of higher-paid duty hours.
Meretz MK Ilan Gilon said in the Knesset that “Hadassah is only an example of the public health crisis. We are at a deciding point for the future of Israeli health services.
Today there is the National Health Insurance law, but the basket of health services is empty. Even though healthcare is advanced, it is not accessible to many residents.”
Meanwhile, the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee will hold an unusual session on the Ein Kerem campus at 8:30 a.m.
on Wednesday to discuss the HMO’s predicament.
Kupat Holim Meuhedet, which was established decades ago by Hadassah doctors, announced that it is setting up a 24-hour support line for members, as a result of the health services crisis in Jerusalem. They can call 1-800-800-933 for solutions to medical services they are not getting at Hadassah.