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Services hit at Bengal’s state-run hospitals as doctors strike work after alleged assault on colleague

The junior doctors locked up the hospital gates, stopped work at the outpatient department (OPD) and started a dharna as a mark of protest against the attack. However, patients later broke open the gates to enter the hospital.

india Updated: Jun 11, 2019 23:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Kolkata hospital,doctors on strike,dharna
Junior doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital went on strike here on Tuesday after one of their colleagues was allegedly attacked by the family of a patient who died on Monday.(Samir Jana/HT Photo)

Outdoor services at state-run hospitals in West Bengal were affected on Tuesday after junior doctors struck work in protest against an attack on one of their colleagues at Kolkata’s Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital (NRS) by relatives of a patient who died Monday night.

The outpatients’ departments at all state-run hospitals in Kolkata and most of the major hospitals in Bengal were shut.

With West Bengal Doctor’s Forum expressing solidarity with the movement, outdoor patients’ department at private hospitals are also likely to be affected on Wednesday. The Forum, however, said that senior doctors will be on duty and run the emergency departments and operation theatres.

A British nomenclature, qualified doctors practising at any state between graduation and completion of specialised postgraduate training are referred to as junior doctors.

In a major concern for the Trinamool Congress government, which is facing flak from the opposition for failing to stop political violence, doctors demanded round the clock security at all hospitals and threatened to continue the agitation on Wednesday.

Attacks on doctors in private and government hospitals are quite common in Bengal.

The injured doctor, Paribaha Mukherjee, who sustained head injury and admitted in an intensive care unit at Kolkata’s Institute of Neuroscience, was attacked by relatives of Md Shayeed, a 82-year-old patient, who died on Monday.

Alleging negligence, more than 100 people, who claimed to be the patient’s relatives pounced on the intern doctors. Mukherjee sustained skull fracture.

While the state government tried to grapple with the situation, the Bharatiya Janata Party criticised chief minister Mamata Banerjee of not being able to provide security for anyone.

“Mamata Banerjee is unable to provide security either to the common people or to the doctors,” said BJP Bengal president Dilip Ghosh.

Deputy health minister Chindrima Bhattacharya went to NRS hospital to talk to the agitating doctors but they did not end the agitation. “The attack is unfortunate but I appeal to the doctors to think about the plight of patients and be sympathetic towards them,” said Bhattacharya.

The agitators shouted “go back” when Kolkata Police commissioner Anuj Sharma went to the hospital.

By evening it was apparent that the agitation was spreading to private institutions as well since doctors in this sector have been attacked many times in recent past.

“As an institution we will keep all its departments open tomorrow. However, if a doctor doesn’t turn up we cannot do anything about it,” said a spokesperson of AMRI (formerly known as advanced Medicare and Research Institute) that runs a few private hospitals in Kolkata.

First Published: Jun 11, 2019 17:23 IST