Klaas, Kiik and Asser: We want to strengthen TÜK not demolish it ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas (Reform).
Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas (Reform). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The representatives of the founders of the Tartu University Hospital wrote in a statement they are trying to "strengthen" not "demolish" the country's only university hospital, after an open letter was sent to the media calling for two members of the board to resign on Tuesday.

Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik, Rector of the University of Tartu Toomas Asser and Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas replied in a joint statement to the 19 clinic heads at Tartu University Hospital (TÜK).

The department heads called for the resignation of Urmas Klaas, chairman of the board of the clinic, and Priit Eelmäe, chairman of the board of the clinic, in the open letter. They say the two men are failing to do their jobs, among other things.

The representatives of the clinic's founders, Kiik, Asser and Klaas were not contacted themselves but read the letter when it was published. They confirmed the board understands the seriousness of the crisis which has taken place and has taken very concrete steps to address the situation.

"It is important for the council to prepare and implement the changes in an inclusive manner. That's why clinic leaders are invited to discuss structural and governance reform on February 13 in the Senate Hall of the University of Tartu. We are very sorry that some leaders have opted for an attack instead of cooperation before this meeting," they said.

The representatives of the founding members stress it is not possible to develop cooperation with statements seeking opposition.

"We are asking clinic staff to maintain peace of mind so that the medical institution can focus on its core work. The council is actively working to find solutions. We are focusing on strengthening, not demolishing, Estonia's only university hospital. This is our common role and responsibility," they said.

The conflict at the University of Tartu Clinic was triggered when Eelmäe introduced plans in early January to make heads of departments contracts fixed-term rather than open-ended.

Clinic managers then issued a statement of non-confidence in Eelmäe and asked the clinic board to recall the chairman of the board.

The representatives and council of the founders of the clinic - the University of Tartu, the city of Tartu and the state - have met with the heads of the clinics to try and solve the problems. 

On Friday, January 31, the Council of the Clinic established a working group headed by Kristjan Vassil, Vice-Rector for Research at the University of Tartu, to conduct the structure and management reform of the Clinic. A multi-stakeholder working group will meet on Friday, February 7.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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