Doctors' Strike at Hadassah Ends, Hospitals to Hire Residents

After labor court hearing, hospitals to hire seven residents who were due to start work February 1

Patients at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Kerem, February 12, 2019.
Emil Salman

Hadassah Medical Center announced Thursday the end of a two-day doctors’ strike at the organization’s two hospitals in Jerusalem.

The physicians began striking Tuesday to protest the management’s decision not to hire seven medical residents who were due to begin rotations at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Kerem and Hadassah University Hospital, Mount Scopus on February 1.

On Wednesday night, the strike was suspended for two days to allow the labor court to hold uninterrupted hearings between the medical center and the Israel Medical Association. On Thursday morning, management was asked to submit all relevant information on the residents’ hiring, including signed employment contracts.

Hadassah Medical Center head Prof. Zeev Rotstein said his decision not to hire the residents was part of his effort to adhere to the hospitals’ financial recovery plan. The physicians argued that the move would adversely affect medical care at the hospitals and discourage good doctors from choosing them for their residencies.

Some physicians have called on Rotstein to disclose what they say are the fat contracts signed with “star” doctors he recruited from other hospitals in recent years.

The Jerusalem Regional Labor Court and the National Labor Court had rejected management’s request for a back-to-work order and ruled that the work action was legitimate. The court also noted that the strike would cost the hospital more than the cost of hiring the residents, but said the decision was up to Hadassah.

In a letter to the physicians, Rotstein said the Israel Medical Association’s euphoria over management’s failure to obtain a court injunction against the strike was like saying “’We got permission from the court to strike, to hurt the patients and doctors and staff of Hadassah,” adding, “What’s the big accomplishment here?”