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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Doctors protest in Delhi; demand safer work space, stringent protection law

The strike is by doctors from across the country and will affect services in both government and private hospitals.

delhi Updated: Jun 06, 2017 14:42 IST
Anonna Dutt and Simran Tandon
Anonna Dutt and Simran Tandon
HT Correspondent, New Delhi
Doctors from different hospitals hold placards during a strike as they stand in front of The King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai on March 23, 2017.
Doctors from different hospitals hold placards during a strike as they stand in front of The King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai on March 23, 2017. (AFP File Photo)

Doctors from across the country took part in a rally in Delhi on Tuesday morning to demand among others a stringent central law to curb increasing cases of violence against them by kin of patients.

However, the ‘Chalo Dilli’ movement did not affect any services in hospitals, but enjoyed wide support from doctors across the country, with doctors from all states -- around 400 doctors from Kerala, 350 from Gujrat, 300 from Maharashtra, 300 from Punjab among others-- coming to the capital to join the rally.

Around 10,000 doctors gathered at Rajghat with 100 ambulances after marching from 13 locations in the city.

All the doctors who were off duty participated in the movement,” said Dr Pankaj Solanki, national president of the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA). “No services were affected in any of the government hospitals in Delhi,” he said.

Private hospitals such as Indraprastha Apollo hospital shut down their out-patient department till 2 pm.

“The OPD functioned normally but morally we were supporting the movement,” said sources from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, where the emergency services were also running as usual.

“We did not call for a country-wide strike because we did not want to affect the patient care,” said IMA president Dr KK Aggarwal.

According to a report in the Lancet journal, 75% doctors in tertiary care hospitals face physical or verbal violence at work at least once in lifetime, with over 40% of them facing it in 2016.

In March, after three incidents of violence were reported in three days, more than 3,000 resident doctors, working in the emergency, out-patient departments and wards, went on strike for five days in Maharashtra.

Taking cognisance of the alarming trend, the Centre had constituted an inter-ministerial committee in 2015 to suggest measures to ensure safety of the doctors. The committee had recommended the need for a Central Act with stringent provisions like making violence against doctors as non bailable offence to deal with the problem.

Many states already have such laws.

The IMA will submit a list of 20 demands to the union health minister JP Nanda, which will include a call to the government to stop criminal prosecution of doctors over administrative issues and discrepancies in paperwork like in the case of PC-PNDT (pre-conception, pre-natal diagnostic technique act).

It also wants the government to amend the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, so that small clinics are not forced to register as corporations.

“Facilities that have even a single bed can be asked to register as an establishment, but if all neighbourhood clinics are forced to register as corporations, it will spike the cost of treatment at these centres,” said Dr KK Aggarwal.

First Published: Jun 06, 2017 09:11 IST