The Health Ministry
officially announced Sunday that Jerusalem's Bikur Holim Hospital
will be closed and merged with the Shaare Zedek Medical Center,
a step which will reportedly see 200 doctors, nurses and administrators laid off.
According to the agreement signed between the State and Shaare Zedek, all of Bikur Holim's 560 employees will be fired and only 360 will be rehired. Meanwhile, Israel's Medical Association
promised to do everything in its power to find employment for those who will lose their jobs.
Bikur Holim workers union chairman Dr. Effi Halperin said, "Out of 140 doctors only 66 will go on to Shaare Sedek, if they wish. The rest, myself included, are not included in the agreement and will therefore have to look for jobs."
Bikur Holim has suffered considerable losses in the past few years prompting a court to dismantle the foundation that established it. Two months ago, its employees launched a strike after they did not receive their September paychecks.
They went back to work after receiving their wages, but since then did not receive 50% of their October and December wages and the fees for November.
Medical Association Chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman
said, "As part of negotiations, the Medical Association demanded a solution for all interns. We shall make sure that those who are not hired by Shaare Zedek will be employed by other hospitals.
"The agreement with Shaare Zedek allowed us to provide job security for the majority of doctors while maintaining the rights of the doctors in Shaare Zedek."
Shaare Zedek director Prof. Yonatan Halevy promised earlier, "The residents of Jerusalem will receive comprehensive care by a strong hospital providing a variety of services."