Doctors’ safety: IMA calls for nationwide stir on Monday

A patient is on a stretcher as junior doctors stage protest at a hospital in Siliguri on Sunday.

A patient is on a stretcher as junior doctors stage protest at a hospital in Siliguri on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: AFP

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) announced on Sunday evening that all non-essential services, including out-patient services, will be withdrawn for 24 hours from 6.00 a.m. on Monday across India in support of the striking junior doctors in West Bengal. Only emergency and casualty services will be offered, it said.

For talks in ‘public’

The protesting junior doctors, who have been demanding better security following an assault on duty doctors on June 10 at the NRSMCH in Kolkata, agreed to meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. However, they said the meeting would have to be “in the full view of the media” and not “behind closed doors”.

Till late in the evening, the Chief Minister’s Office, had not announced any date, time or venue for the meeting.

Comprehensive law

In the national capital, the IMA demanded a comprehensive central law to deal with violence against doctors, healthcare staff and hospitals.

“Security measures and the determinants leading to violence should also be addressed. Exemplary punishment of perpetrators of violence should be a component of the Central law,” it said.

“Suitable amendments should be brought in IPC and CrPC. Effective implementation of Law has to be ensured by incorporating suitable clauses. 19 States have already passed legislations in this regard. Hospitals should be declared as “Safe Zones”,” the IMA demanded.

Doctors are also asking for a structured safety measures including 3-layer security, CCTVs and restriction of entry of visitors which should be enforced uniformly across the country.

“Healthcare violence has its origin in high expectations, lack of infrastructure and inadequate human resources. Issues of medical profession involving doctor-patient relationship, effective communication regarding the nature of illness and professional counselling play a part as well,” said Dr. R.V. Asokan, member of the Association.

Patients turned away

Medical services continued to be affected for the sixth day on Sunday in the emergency wards, outdoor facilities and pathology units of many State-run hospitals across West Bengal, leaving several patients in distress.

Sayantan Adhikari, a private teacher, had to return his home to Nadia district after failing to get her mother, who urgently needs kidney dialysis, admitted in any public facility. “I do not have enough money to admit her in private facility,” he said.

Earlier, the junior doctors while agreeing to talks with the Chief Minister provided the meeting was held in public, said, “The venue should be big enough to accommodate members of various doctors’ association and media personnel.” This would mean a very large public venue to accommodate representatives of every private and public medical college and hospital.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) leadership welcomed Sunday's decision of the junior doctors to meet the Chief Minister. Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, a senior TMC leader, said the impasse should be resolved now as both sides agreed to talk.

“Both sides have shown some flexibility and it is expected that the problems will be addressed now,” Mr Chattopadhyay said. However, he also asked whether it is a reasonable decision to conduct the meeting in front of the media. “Ms. Banerjee will decide about it,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2020 5:23:07 PM |

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