File photo of doctors taking out a candlelight vigil to show solidarity to protest against an attack on intern junior doctor in West Bengal, at AIIMS in New Delhi. | PTI
Text Size:

New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) is hopeful of getting striking doctors back to work but first wants written assurance from the Modi government that there will be a central law to curb violence against doctors.

IMA president Santanu Sen told ThePrint that his sources in the Union Ministry of Health have hinted that the government will likely bring in a central legislation. “But we want something concrete in writing before calling off the strike,” he said.

Sen demanded a comprehensive law even as Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Saturday asked “states to consider enacting specific legislation for protecting medical professionals from any form of violence”.

The IMA had called a nationwide strike Monday as healthcare services at government and private hospitals across the country continue to be hit after doctors boycotted work for nearly a week in solidarity with their striking colleagues in West Bengal. The Bengal strike was called Tuesday after relatives of a patient assaulted two junior doctors at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.

IMA secretary general Dr R.V. Asokan told ThePrint that the striking doctors will return to work Tuesday.

“Doctors will go back to their OPDs from tomorrow. We have made a point today that we need a law by protesting against violence for 24 hours,” he said. “We are doctors and its a noble profession. I hope, the government takes it forward from here and give us some concrete assurance.”


Also readThere is a law to protect doctors from assault but this is why it doesn’t work

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.

SUBSCRIBE NOW


IMA chief faces protests in Kolkata

IMA president Sen, however, faced protests at Kolkata’s NRS Hospital, the epicentre of the protests, as he is also a Trinamool Congress MP in Rajya Sabha. Doctors in the Kolkata hospital are angry with the TMC administration for not taking action against the perpetrators of Tuesday’s attack and were further enraged when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee warned of “strong action” against the protesting doctors.

Unhappy with Banerjee’s remarks, agitated doctors booed Sen when he went to meet them Sunday. They also called on him to ‘go back’.

Sen, however, told ThePrint that he understood their anger. “They are angry and they don’t realise that I am the first the IMA president who represents the organisation in Parliament,” he said. “Earlier, the association used to pursue other members of Parliament to push its case. There is no conflict of interest in my position.”

He also emphasised that the “issue is not at all communal”.

“It is not about the religion of the patient or the doctor. It is about making hospitals a safe zone for doctors,” he said. “Doctors are reacting strongly because the issue has come to a boil and must be stopped.”

IMA wants aid for victims of violence

The IMA has laid down a number of pointers that it wants to be included in the legislation. It is demanding an Act that mandates every hospital to identify high-risk violence-prone areas to be manned by an adequate number of doctors and CCTV cameras.

It also demands adequate compensation for healthcare providers who are victims of violence.

“Grievances Redressal mechanism should be established in every hospital, for patients or their relatives as well as for the healthcare providers,” Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, former national president of the IMA told ThePrint.

“In the absence of laws to protect doctors, we will be forced to not to touch the patients with critical cases,” Sen said. “The morbidity of every human being is certain. We are doctors and not magicians. If a person has died, it doesn’t mean the family will thrash us.”


Also readIndia’s overworked doctors are trashed by all —patients, corporates & even PM Modi


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism

1 Comment Share Your Views

1 COMMENT

  1. Doctors belong to a noble profession. They should be safe, as should journalists, another endangered species. 2. It seems to me that this particular incident has been excessively politicised. CM Mamata Banerjee is being ensnared. The human suffering being caused to the ailing and the infirm all over the country is acceptable collateral damage. If Chanakya was reborn today, he would be clean bowled at the start of the match.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here