Doctors across India join protest against violence; IMA calls for nationwide strike on June 17

Healthcare services across the country will be affected on Friday with scores of doctors deciding to boycott work for a day to express solidarity with their protesting colleagues in Kolkata

Photo Courtesy: Social Media
Photo Courtesy: Social Media

NH Web Desk

Healthcare services at private and government hospitals across the country will be affected on Friday with scores of doctors deciding to boycott work for a day to express solidarity with their protesting colleagues in Kolkata.

There will be a complete shutdown of all outpatient departments (OPDs), routine operation theatre services and ward visits, except emergency services in the hospitals, several medical bodies have said.

In the latest development, Indian Medical Association has called for nationwide strike on June 17. “All India closure of health services (except casualty and emergency) from 6 AM on June 17 until 6 AM on June 18,” said IMA in a press conference

Resident doctors at the AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital worked with bandages on their heads in a symbolic protest on Thursday and called for suspension of all non-emergency services, including OPD, on June 14 to protest against the violence in Kolkata.

Several resident doctors also held a protest at Jantar Mantar against the brutal attack.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has asked members of all its state branches to stage protests and wear black badges on Friday.

In a communique to all its state presidents and secretaries, the IMA has asked them to organise demonstrations in front of the district collectors' offices from 10 am to 12 noon on Friday and hand over a memorandum, addressed to the prime minister, to the collectors in every district.

The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) observed a "Black Day" on Thursday against the brutal attack and has declared a statewide absolute shutdown on Friday.

The DMA Executive stated that the organisation is ready for an agitation to press for strong legislation and strict action against violence at hospitals.

Simultaneously, all the local branches and individual members of the IMA will send an appeal to the prime minister and the Union Home Minister, demanding a Central Act on violence against doctors and in hospitals.

The IMA has also urged its state branches to communicate the information to the government doctors' organisations of the states and request for their support and issue press statements to this effect.

"The gruesome incident in NRS Medical College, Kolkata, is of barbaric nature. IMA condemns the violence perpetrated on a young doctor. The entire medical fraternity expresses solidarity with the resident doctors who are on strike. The IMA headquarters hereby declares All India Protest Day on Friday," an IMA statement said. Condemning the violence in West Bengal, the AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) has also urged the RDAs across the country to join the token strike.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the AIIMS RDA said the ongoing and worsening of violence against medical doctors in West Bengal is worrisome and disheartening.

"There is a complete breakdown of law and order, with reports of mobs attacking doctors’ hostels with weapons. The government has failed to provide protection and justice to doctors," the statement read.

"AIIMS RDA condemns this in words and in spirit. Residents across the country are deeply hurt by these turn of events. Keeping in view of our commitment towards safe and non-violent working environment for residents, AIIMS RDA stands in support of our colleagues in West Bengal and has decided to hold protest on June 13 which would be followed by one day strike of work on June 14 which include OPD, routine and ward services except for emergency services," it said.

They urged the West Bengal chief minister to intervene in the matter and address the security concerns so that residents can continue serving patients.

Doctors from Nagpur, Delhi, Hyderabad, Maharashtra and Aligarh among other cities have also joined the boycott. Doctors who haven’t boycotted their duties have decided to express their solidarity by wearing black armbands and bandages on their heads. Various doctors associations have condemned the attack and asked the West Bengal government to take necessary measures to protect doctors in such situations.

The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) released an official statement regarding the strike being held in solidarity with doctors in West Bengal and it said, "We are shutting down our OPD, ward and academic services from 8 am to 5 pm today. Emergency services will not be hampered."

Prashant Choudhary, President MARD, Sion Hospital, Mumbai said, “A mob assaulted doctors on duty at a hospital in West Bengal, when a targeted attack like this happens it becomes a law and order issue. Today, we are doing a silent protest over the incident,” as reported by ANI.

JN Medical College Hospital, Aligarh Muslim University’s Resident Doctors’ Association has also issued a statement condemning the violence against doctors in Kolkata, addressed to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. It said, “JNMCH, AMU, RDA believes in Zero tolerance policy towards violence against doctors and we extend our unconditional support, standing firm with residents of NRS Medical College for the fight of their rights in the grave situation.”

Doctors across India join protest against  violence;  IMA calls for nationwide strike on June 17

Junior doctors in West Bengal are on a strike since Tuesday after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.

In the wake of the strike, the AIIMS has instituted contingency measures to take care of the admitted patients, including those in the ICUs and wards.

As part of contingency measures, OPD services will function in a restricted manner till normalcy is restored, according to a memo put out by AIIMS medical superintendent.

Only follow-up patients with prior appointment will be registered in OPD while registration of new patients will be done as per availability of the faculty, it said.

Routine operation theatre (OT) services will remain suspended and only emergency cases will be taken up for surgical operations. Diagnostic services will also function in a restricted manner, it added.

The memo asked heads of all clinical departments to make arrangements for round-the-clock availability of doctors of concerned speciality either from research staff or by faculty members. "Under no circumstances, any in patient ward will function without physical availability of doctors of concerned speciality," it said.

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Published: 14 Jun 2019, 11:48 AM