Kolkata/ Delhi/ Mumbai: Doctors all across the country are expressing disapproval and protesting the attack on a couple of Kolkata doctors recently, by relatives of a patient, who died at the NRS Medical College and Hospital. Now, for the fourth day in a row, doctors in Kolkata have gone on strike, hampering regular services in all state-run medical colleges and hospitals, and a number of private hospitals. The agitation has spread to New Delhi and Mumbai, too, where doctors are protesting the lack of security they face.
However, emergency services were available at one or two hospitals, including Nil Ratan Sircar (NRS) Medical College and Hospital here, on Friday morning.
Notwithstanding Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s warning of strict action if work is not resumed, the junior doctors carried on with their agitation. The spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors, Dr Arindam Dutta, told PTI that demonstrations will continue till their demands are met. “The manner in which the chief minister threatened the junior doctors is quite unexpected… This is an insult to our community. We also condemn this… She has to apologise for what she said yesterday. We are not outsiders and this agitation is spontaneous… We are contemplating mass resignations,” Dutta said.
Banerjee, who visited the state-run SSKM hospital on Thursday in the wake of disruption of medical services in several parts of the state, had warned the doctors of action if they did not resume work.
Meanwhile, the principal and the medical superintendent of the NRS Medical College and Hospital submitted their resignations on Thursday night. And to, add to the ongoing protests, The Indian Medical Association has declared Friday “All India Protest Day”, so that the government takes the protests seriously.
Delhi doctors protest
Scores of doctors at some government and private hospitals in Delhi held demonstrations by marching and raising slogans to express solidarity with their protesting colleagues in Kolkata.
A group of doctors also met Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and apprised him of the demands of the medical fraternity to ensure safety and security of doctors in face of any violence in hospital premises. Vardhan has assured the doctors that he will look into their demands.
Doctors under the banner of the Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) held out marches in the AIIMS campus, with many wearing bandages on their foreheads.
The resident doctors associations of the Maulana Azad Medical College and associated hospitals have also joined the protest. Condemning the violence in West Bengal, the AIIMS RDA had on Thursday urged all the RDAs across the country to join the token strike. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has directed the members of all its state branches to stage protests and wear black badges on Friday.
Healthcare services at private and government hospitals in the national capital are likely to be affected on Friday.
Mumbai medical services on hold for the day
Showing solidarity to the Kolkata doctors, like the doctors in Delhi, around 4,500 medical professionals in Mumbai have also gone on strike for the day.
The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) said junior doctors at government hospitals in the state will not perform surgeries or attend to out-patient departments (OPDs) between 8 am and 5 pm Friday.
However, emergency services will not be affected, it said.
“We will not be treating any patients in routine OPDs or carry out surgeries or take rounds of wards. Doctors posted on emergency duties will not participate in the protest,” a resident doctor, who is a member of MARD, said.
(With inputs from PTI)