The over 100-hour stand-off between doctors across India and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued on Saturday, with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) resident doctors association (Delhi) giving “an ultimatum to Ms. Mamata Banerjee to agree to the doctors’ demand or face indefinite nation-wide strike by doctors”.
“On Saturday, doctors across India continued with the protest shutting down outpatient services and routine operations. Only emergency services remained functional. We have called upon doctors from across India to intensify the strike in case the West Bengal government does not assure and provide us with support,’’ said a statement issued by the association.
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan wrote to Chief Ministers of all States and UTs, drawing their attention to the need to initiate strict action against any person who assaults doctors.
“Sudden strike by doctors is gravely affecting the healthcare services. Agitations by doctors in West Bengal seem to be getting aggravated and taking shape of strike by both government and private sector doctors, all over the country,” he said.
Doctors from across India, including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Kerala, have extended their support to the protest and more private hospitals too joined in the protest, much to the distress of the patients.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan’s directive
Dr. Vardhan has called for strict law enforcement to ensure that doctors and clinical establishments discharge their duties and professional pursuit without fear of any violence. “State governments that do not have specific legislation to protect doctors and health professionals to consider enacting one immediately,” he said.
Dr. H.S Chhabra, medical director, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC), Delhi, said: “Violence against the doctors in Kolkata is not a single case and is a trend that has affected other parts of the country. We must keep in mind the extreme conditions in which the doctors work, especially in government hospitals — right from overcrowded OPDs to inadequate staff, medicines and infrastructure, doctors are fighting an unequal battle. The doctor-patient ratio in India is abysmally low and the serious physical, mental and emotional stress they undergo takes tremendous effort.’’
AIIMS resident doctors issue ultimatum to Mamata – The Hindu