TÜK clinic heads want Klaas and Eelmäe to resign from supervisory board ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Tartu Hospital clinic heads.
Tartu Hospital clinic heads. Source: Ivar Õuekallas, Powerhouse

Nineteen members of the managerial staff of Tartu University Hospital (TÜK), which has been rattled by a management crisis in recent week, want chairman of the supervisory board of the hospital, Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas, and chairman of the management board Priit Eelmäe to resign.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, 19 heads of departments called for the two men to resign. They have previously expressed no confidence in Eelmäe, who is managing the hospital, to do the job.

They wrote in the statement the only solution to the current management problem "is for both chairs to assume responsibility" and resign.

"The chairman of the management board must leave immediately," the statement reads. "This is the first and unavoidable prerequisite for the restoration of peace. The chairman of the supervisory board must step down and assume responsibility because he has failed in his job and is justifying the continuation of an emotionally violent leadership style at Tartu University Hospital."

The statement says the confrontation of Eelmäe with the team is not something that might happen in the future, but a reality which has grown over the last 18 months.

On January 10, heads of the clinics of the TÜK expressed a lack of confidence in chairman of the board Priit Eelmäe after he announced a decision to make clinic directors positions fixed-term.

On January 13, the supervisory board of TÜK decided to continue cooperation with Eelmäe, as it believes the current management crisis at the hospital is solvable.

The hospital was founded by the Estonian state, the city of Tartu and the University of Tartu. The hospital serves as a training base for the university's medical students.

A joint statement signed by clinic heads said:

"The supervisory board of Tartu University Hospital has led the hospital into a deep management crisis. There are no good labor relations at the hospital, Priit Eelmäe, chairman of the management board, has not been able to cooperate with the managers of clinics for nearly 1.5 years, nor is he planning to do so. The reputation of Estonia's leading medical institution with 4,400 employees has been severely damaged. The supervisory board of the hospital, headed by supervisory board chair Urmas Klaas, strives to make changes to the management of the hospital in a way that does not improve the organization of work, but worsens it.

"The continuation of this reality is a dead end. It is not the top doctors and heads of clinics who should have to leave, but the incompetent chairman of the management board. Priit Eelmäe is unable to manage Tartu University Hospital, he lacks the skills, knowledge, personal qualities and will to do so. A manager who does not want to cooperate with his team also expresses his indifference towards his work.

"Making baseless claims against the team headed by oneself is not part of teamwork. As clinic managers, we definitely agree with the modernization of the structure, fixed-term employment contracts and competition for the position. The chairman of the supervisory board has accepted the activities of the management board chairman that have led to the management crisis of the hospital. The only solution is for both chairs to assume responsibility.

"The chairman of the management board must leave immediately. This is the first and unavoidable prerequisite for the restoration of peace. The chairman of the supervisory board must step down and assume responsibility because he has failed in his job and is justifying the continuation of an emotionally violent leadership style at Tartu University Hospital. The fault lies with the supervisory board of Tartu University Hospital as a whole. The supervisory board has failed to understand the balance in the functioning of the university and the hospital and has not taken reasonable steps to achieve this balance.

"Since the extraordinary meeting of the supervisory board on January 13, there has not been even the slightest change in the management board chair's management style. The chairman of the board ignores not only the hospital staff but the supervisory board as well. The atmosphere at the hospital has been getting worse over the past year and a half, the period during which Priit Eelmae has been chairman of the management board. The situation is seriously affecting the provision of healthcare services, the present and future of the education of our doctors and medical staff. We need a social truce. And right now, dear Chairman of the supervisory board, resign."

The statement was signed by Margus Lember, Jaan Eha, Rein Kermes, Aivar Ehrenberg, Ago Korgvee, Joel Starkopf, Vallo Tillmann, Marika Kirss, Sven Janno, Anu Tamm, Taavo Seedre, Helle Karro, Urmas Lepner, Rein Kuik, Kuldar Kaljurand, Aare Martson, Pilvi Ilves, Pille Taba and Rain Jogi.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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