The Delhi Cabinet on Monday cleared a Bill for prevention of violence against medical care professionals and vandalism at hospitals.
Anybody who attacks a doctor or any other ancillary staff on duty, or damages hospital property may have to pay a hefty fine up to Rs 50,000 and even get a jail term of up to 3 years, or both.
The Delhi Medicare Service Personnel and Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage Property) Bill 2008 proposes to make all such incidents of violence at hospital as cognisable and non-bailable offence.
“If the Bill is enacted, all government-run and private hospitals, nursing homes or maternity clinics in the city that provide medical care to patients will be covered,” said a health department official.
The Bill will be tabled in front of the Delhi Assembly in its forthcoming session. Hospital heads have welcomed the decision.
“I strongly feel that there’s a need for stringent laws to deal with violence against doctors. Relatives should be severely punished if they cannot understand that it is every doctor’s duty to save a life,” said Dr Jagdish Prasad, Medical Superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital.
The Bill is based on the Andhra Pradesh Ordinance Against the Violence on Doctors and Medical Establishments enacted in December 2007. The Punjab government also passed a similar Bill on September 6.
“In the past eight months, there have been five strikes at Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Hospital, two strikes at Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital and one strike at Deen Dayal Upadhayay Hospital — all resultant of mob violence against doctors on duty,” said an official.
Even as the cabinet cleared the Bill to protect doctors and nurses at the job, Bara Hindu Rao Hospital asked for armed security personnel to guard their premises.
The largest Municipal Corporation of Delhi-run hospital, Hindu Rao often witnesses incidents of violence.
On September 3, 110 senior and junior resident doctors at Hindu Rao declared a strike, protesting the brutal thrashing of one of their colleagues by the relatives of a patient who died in the hospital.