Professor Ofer Merin, Director General of Shaare Zedek addressed the prestigious Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Security of the Israel Democracy Institute this week, reflecting on the vast impact the ongoing war is having on the healthcare sector.

Professor Merin focused specifically on the war’s impact on employment, sharing the drastic effect events since October 7th have had on Shaare Zedek, Jerusalem’s fastest growing hospital and the workplace for over 5,000 people.

“As the hospital’s director general, my policy has always been that the national and military needs rise above everything else, and therefore each and every staff member who has a contribution to make in the reserves should be given all the support to respond and report for that critical duty,” Prof. Merin said.

He also discussed the unprecedented medical response effort being performed in the battlefield saying, “The IDF has performed remarkably from the medical standpoint. Much of that life-saving success can be attributed to the incredible combat medical teams, including very significant representation of doctors, nurses and support staff serving in a reserve capacity.”

Professor Merin addressed the fact that the mass call-up of reserves within the hospital, largely consisting of physicians and nurses, did cause a strain on the hospital requiring staffing of longer shifts by remaining staff.

Shaare Zedek has also been a major responder to IDF combat injuries, having treated over 1,000 cases since the outbreak of the war, with nearly every day marked by the arrival of a medical rescue helicopter to the hospital. The war has also taken a very personal toll on the hospital community with 13 staff members having lost first-degree relatives, including a senior nurse who lost two sons in battle on October 7th.

“One of the foremost obstacles that I am charged with as Director General is preserving a sense of unity and common purpose among a highly diverse staff. My role is to be available every day of the week and be available to identify potential crises before they erupt and make every clear boundaries of what is acceptable behaviour among our staff members. We can feel confident in the fact that despite the obvious tensions that define this time in Israel’s history, Shaare Zedek remains a place people can proudly call their professional home.”