The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called for a nationwide withdrawal of non-essential medical services, including outdoor patient department (OPD) services, for 24 hours beginning at 6 am Monday to protest the violence against doctors at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata. Emergency, casualty and ICU services remain unaffected.
The IMA has demanded a national law and a minimum of 7 years imprisonment against violence in hospitals. Hospitals should be declared safe zones and provision of appropriate security should be the responsibility of the state, it added. The Delhi Medical Association and Safdarjung Hospital have joined the protest.
Meanwhile, after six days of agitation, doctors in Bengal said they are ready to meet with CM Mamata Banerjee to bring “an immediate end to this impasse.” They have demanded the meeting should be held under media coverage and should include representatives from all medical college hospitals. Sources said the meeting is likely to be held at the state secretariat Monday afternoon
Why the health care logjam in Bengal was waiting to happen
Bengal has seen over 100 cases of attacks on doctors and medical staff in this year alone. The phenomenon is not new, spilling over from Left front regime to that of the rule of Trinamool Congress. While doctors and medical staff in West Bengal highlight a lack of security in state hospitals and medical colleges, relatives of patients complain of bad behaviour and lack of proper service.
Doctors’ strike: AIIMS won’t join protest
While doctors at Safdarjung Hospital and Delhi Medical Association have extended their support to the nationwide stir by IMA in Delhi, the AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) is not participating in the strike. In a statement, the AIIMS RDA said: “It has been decided to resort to a protest wherein patient-care services will not be hampered to ensure that the backlog of patients, including patients affected by the strike, is addressed appropriately.”
All Tripura Government Doctors’ Association, IMA Tripura join protest
Joining the protest in the All Tripura Government Doctors’ Association and IMA Tripura. Except for OPD, all other services will be rendered, Dr S Debbarma, General Secretary, IMA Tripura Unit told news agency ANI
Welcome to The Indian Express live blog. The Indian Medical Association has called for a nationwide stir today in solidarity with the Bengal doctors. A meeting with Mamata Banerjee is also likely today in Bengal. Follow this space to track the latest news
The agitation was triggered by an attack on June 10 on two doctors at the NRS hospital allegedly by neighbours and relatives of a patient who died. Since then, the strike called by doctors has affected most health services, including at OPDs, in state-run hospitals — a number of doctors have also resigned from service.
Joining the protest in Bengal, the IMA had launched a four-day nationwide protest from Friday and wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding enactment of a central law to check violence against healthcare workers. In its statement, the IMA said effective implementation of the central law has to be ensured by incorporating suitable clauses.
Hospitals should be declared as “safe zones”. Structured safety measures, including three-layer security, CCTV cameras and restriction of entry of visitors should be well defined and enforced uniformly across the country in all sectors, it said. Nineteen states have already passed legislation in this regard and in 2016, an inter-ministerial committee’s recommendations document was signed by the IMA with the central government, the medical body said.
The latest decision by the agitating doctors comes a day after they refused to meet the Chief Minister at the state secretariat. The doctors had earlier refused to attend meetings called by Banerjee on Friday and Saturday. Sources in the government said that the latest offer by the doctors still leaves two major points of contention: the presence of media at the talks and the number of representatives that can be allowed on behalf of the doctors.