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Hospitals told to register institutional FIRs over violence against docs, staff

A recent meta-analysis of studies on violence against doctors in India found that 100% doctors in the emergency department and 75% of all doctors faced either physical or verbal violence. The rate of physical violence, 50%, was higher among psychiatrists, the study said.

delhi Updated: Apr 17, 2019 07:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
FIR,Hospitals,India
The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) had raised the issue of registering institutional FIRs in a recent meeting with the chief secretary of Delhi.(HT File Photo)

The Delhi government on Tuesday directed all its hospitals to file an institutional FIR in case of violence against doctors or medical staff.

“All HODs (heads of departments) of hospitals or medical institutions are hereby directed that in case of any incident involving abuse or violence by the patients or their attendants, an FIR/ complaint is required to be filed by the concerned hospital/ institutions immediately. In no case, the individual doctor/para-medical/nursing/ administrative staff, etc., should be asked to lodge the FIR/complaint,” a circular read. The order said non-compliance of the directions would be viewed seriously.

The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) had raised the issue of registering institutional FIRs in a recent meeting with the chief secretary of Delhi.

“This is to reiterate to the hospitals that the cases have to be registered. We have received complaints of instances where it was not being done,” Rajeev Khirwar, health secretary, said.

A recent meta-analysis of studies on violence against doctors in India found that 100% doctors in the emergency department and 75% of all doctors faced either physical or verbal violence. The rate of physical violence, 50%, was higher among psychiatrists, the study said.

The study suggests better conviction under laws to protect medical personnel as one of the steps to curb violence.

“It is a great win for the DMA that the circular was issued. There has been an increase in cases of violence against doctors and it is good to see the government taking action,” said Dr Girish Tyagi, president-elect, DMA.

In 2015, an institutional FIR was lodged for the first time in a Delhi government hospital under the Medicare Service Persons and Medical Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage of Property) Act, 2008.

The action was taken after 20,000 resident doctors of government hospitals went on strike raising safety concerns.

“In 2017, when the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association called a strike after an incidence of violence, the government had communicated the need for institutional FIRs to all its hospitals. The problem is that it does not get followed. Recently, there was a case of violence at Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya and an institutional FIR was initially not being filed,” said Dr Sumedh Sandanshiv, president of the association.

Registering a personal FIR becomes difficult for a doctor or medical staff as they are summoned by the court for every hearing as opposed to the institutional authorities being called in.

“The victim might keep getting summons by the court years after the incidence. Now, for example, if a resident doctor who has come to Delhi from another state registers an individual complaint, then even after his residency is over he would have to keep travelling back to Delhi for the hearings. If it is an institutional FIR, the authorities in the hospital would be responsible. The victim might be called in just a couple of times initially for identification, etc,” said Dr Sandanshiv.

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 07:16 IST