Patients should know what’s free and what isn’t in govt hospitals: doctors

Kolkata: Junior doctors still on strike in Bengal want an anti-violence bill in place to strictly deal with harassment of doctors at the hands of patients or their relatives. In relation to that, they also want to talk about the inaction of police in a situation where doctors were being harassed on the day of the incident.

A team of 32 doctors met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with their draft of the bill.

 Their demands included:

Protection and justice: The doctors have asked for added protection. CM Mamata Banerjee in reply to this has said that she has commissioned the PWD to create more collapsible gates for added protection. She also mentioned surveillance infrastructure will also be provided. Kolkata’s new police commissioner Anuj Sharma said that nearly 900 police force has been deployed for this alone. He also mentioned that he is now working on access control in hospitals, working along with health department to control who comes in and goes out of the hospital compound for added security. CM Mamata also said there will be a nodal officer appointed who will take upon the responsibilities of all the hospitals.

Patient identification through Aadhaar and PAN cards, online booking systems for government hospitals to be put into place.

All district medical and dental colleges infrastructural facilities to be made known within 7 days.

Another demand doctors have is surveillance infrastructure to monitor hospital spaces and stop untoward incidents.

Doctors also want patients to be aware of what is free and not free in government medical care so that there is no confusion between hospital staff and patients. They want the process to be transparent.

Doctors mentioned there were two categories of demands, one which, if fulfilled, the doctors would call off the strike immediately, resuming their duties. And the other section includes policies that are for the longer run, to be discussed in more detail.

West Bengal doctors have now been on strike for seven days and it seems there is no solution in sight. It all began with the attack on junior doctors Paribaha Mukhopadhyay and Yash Tekwani in the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital.

The protests soon spread across the medical fraternity in West Bengal and gradually, all over the country. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had warned doctors to resume services or face stern action.

In a conversation with a doctor, who is directly involved with the protests, it emerged what had actually happened on the night of Monday, June 10.

The ruckus began when one patient passed away in the hospital. People related to the patient hastily threatened the doctors and went away.

By midnight, people began assembling around the gates of the college and the doctors, seeing the crowd growing, called the police to handle the situation. The police did come, and closed the gates of the college compound. By around 2 am in the night, nearly two hundred people had turned up outside the gates and had started pelting rocks.

Soon, they broke open the gates and violence ensued leading to the attacks on Paribaha Mukhopadhyay and Yash Tekwani.

The doctor interviewed mentioned that was the point from which the agitation began. Violence against doctors wasn’t new in the state and there was already a rising resentment among the medical fraternity for a very long time which eventually evolved into the protest that we see today.

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