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Striking Bengal doctors to meet Mamata Banerjee today

The doctors are expected to seek better infrastructure at state-run hospitals, better security and the arrest of the attackers at NRS Hospital during the meeting.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2019 10:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Kolkata
west bengal,doctors,mamata banerjee
After General Body meeting, Junior Doctors representative are briefing on strike issue in front of Academic Building in NRS Hospital in Kolkata on Sunday, June 16, 2019. (Samir Jana/HT Photo)

Doctors of state-run medical colleges and hospitals in West Bengal demanding better security will meet chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday to put across their demands as thousands of patients have been affected by the ongoing agitation.

The protests began last Monday after at least three junior doctors were assaulted by family members of a patient who died in the state-run NRS Medical College paralysing operations of outpatient departments (OPDs) and spilling over to other parts of the country, including New Delhi.

Officials said Banerjee may hold a meeting at the state secretariat at 3pm on Monday.

The doctors are expected to seek better infrastructure at state-run hospitals, better security and the arrest of the attackers at NRS Hospital during the meeting.

They said on Sunday they are ready for talks with Mamata Banerjee but said the chief minister will have to meet them in the presence of journalists and representatives of all the 14 medical colleges in the state.

They had earlier insisted that Mamata Banerjee visit the city’s NRS Medical College and Hospital, the epicentre of the agitation.

The protesting doctors said that Banerjee is free to choose the venue for the meeting but the conditions set by them will have to be met, a demand that came a day after they turned down the chief minister’s appeal for a dialogue at the state secretariat.

After indications that the government may not allow the media in the meeting, doctors asked the administration if they could use personal cameras to record the proceedings.

Banerjee softened her stand on Saturday and said her government did not want to take action against junior doctors and hurt their careers.

“Let good sense prevail. I appeal to them to join duty and end the suffering of thousands,” Banerjee said, reiterating that “outsiders” were provoking the doctors, a claim that has not gone down well with the protesters.

Health care across India could be affected on Monday as the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has announced in a country-wide call that all services related to OPDs, routine operation theatre and ward visits will be withdrawn for 24 hours from 6am on Monday.

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday asked states to consider enacting specific legislation for protecting doctors and medical professionals from any form of violence.

IMA, the top medical body, has also demanded a comprehensive central law in dealing with violence on doctors and health care staff.

The services continue to remain affected in the emergency wards, outdoor facilities and pathological units of many state-run hospitals and private medical facilities in West Bengal.

First Published: Jun 17, 2019 08:24 IST