A Palestinian sits on a bed at the Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem
A Palestinian sits on a bed at the Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem. The hospital, which is threatened with closure due to a financial crisis, is facing an open-ended strike by its staff members who haven't been receiving wages for the past two months. © Hazem Bader - AFP
A Palestinian sits on a bed at the Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem
AFP
Last updated: September 28, 2012

Palestinian Jerusalem hospitals fear financial crisis

A group of six medical facilities serving Palestinians in east Jerusalem warned Friday of an "unprecedented financial crisis" because of unpaid bills owed by the Palestinian Authority government.

In a statement, the East Jerusalem Hospitals Network said they are owed more than 67.5 million shekels ($17 million, 13.3 million euros) for the treatment of Palestinians whose bills are supposed to be covered by the West Bank government.

"In order to maintain their operations, several of the hospitals are reviewing running costs including staff levels, to find areas for reductions," the statement said.

"Some hospitals have already taken extraordinary measures such as releasing staff, reducing number of admissions and curtailing services."

The PA Ministry of Health regularly refers Palestinians to hospitals in east Jerusalem for procedures that are not available in the West Bank and Gaza.

But the West Bank government led by prime minister Salam Fayyad is suffering its own financial crisis, which has led to late salary payments and mounting debts.

The group said it was "seeking urgent financial assistance to sustain the services of the six hospitals" and called on "donors to support the PA to meet its obligation... requesting that funds be donated directly to the PA to be used specifically for paying down their debts to the east Jerusalem hospitals."

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