Hadassah head: In negotiations with UAE to open hospital in Dubai

“They want us in the Emirates, they appreciate us, they want to benefit from our abilities.”

Hadassah University Medical Center (photo credit: AVI HAYOUN)
Hadassah University Medical Center
(photo credit: AVI HAYOUN)
Hadassah-University Medical Center is in negotiations with leaders in Dubai about opening a hub and even potentially relocating some its top doctors, nurses and management to the United Arab Emirates, Prof. Zeev Rotstein, the hospital’s director-general, told The Jerusalem Post.
Rotstein was in the UAE last week as part of the first-ever Abraham Accords Business Summit, which was led by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
During the visit, delegation members split by industries, from food and technology to security defense and health. Rotstein was the only physician on this mission, though he acknowledged that many other hospital heads have already been to the UAE to explore opportunities. During the trip, he met with members of the private sector, as well as government representatives, he said.
“They want us in the Emirates; they appreciate us; they want to benefit from our abilities,” Rotstein said, noting that some of the best medical centers, such as the Mayo Clinic, have a presence in the country. “For us, this is really a testament to our services and a vote of confidence.”
The UAE is “very open and free,” and they treated the Israeli delegation with warmth and respect, he said.
But Rotstein cautioned that negotiations are at the beginning stages. With the coronavirus crisis still raging and expected to spike again in the winter, and Hadassah still struggling financially as a result, he said he is not prepared to look outward until he feels confident that “we have a stable medical center here for the people of Israel.”
“I want to first build a better Hadassah in Jerusalem before anywhere else,” he said.
Hadassah, like many of the country’s other public hospitals, is still in negotiations with the Finance Ministry over reimbursement and grants to help cover expenses and income losses that resulted from the coronavirus crisis.
Rotstein said he has already been invited back for a follow-up visit and that he is likely to travel to the UAE again next month.
“Now, because we know each other and there is trust being built... I believe that there is a lot of collaboration that we can build,” he said.
Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and the UAE’s APEX National Investment already signed an agreement last month to promote a range of healthcare solutions in the region.