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Doctors on strike at Mumbai’s JJ hospital want security, not assurances

Resident doctors at JJ Hospital want immediate deployment of guards to ensure protection from attacks

mumbai Updated: May 22, 2018 11:01 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
A patient walks past protesting resident doctors at JJ Hospital in Mumbai on Monday. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

Resident doctors at JJ Hospital refused to return to work on the basis of written assurances that their demands for better security would be met by the administration.

On Monday, medical education minister Girish Mahajan, members of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), senior administrative staff of JJ Hospital, and members of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) met to discuss the protesting doctors’ concerns. No agreement was reached.

“We were told about the practical difficulties to set up centralised alarm bell system overnight and we understand that budget provision, fund release and actual set up may take time, but the work has to start immediately. We will not back out from our demand of immediate deployment of the guards and continue with the mass bunk,” said Dr Sarang Donarkar, President, MARD.

Doctors at JJ Hospital went on strike after Dr Atish Parikh and Dr Shalmali Dharmadhikari were assaulted by four relatives of a deceased patient. Dr Parikh’s cheekbone has been fractured and Dr Dharmadhikari has suffered an arm injury.

The protestors’ main demands are immediate deployment of guards at all 45 wards in JJ Hospital, a centralised alarm and restricted access for patients’ relatives.

Since 2017, when doctors across Maharashtra went on strike to protest the lack of security in state hospitals, 180 guards have been stationed in JJ Hospital, covering all major exit and entry points as well as six major wards. Dr S Nandankar, dean of JJ Hospital, said existing guards would be “used as better security resource for the wards” and more would be hired immediately.

Mahajan has also ordered a survey of JJ Hospital’s security. A final meeting between DMER officials, MARD and the administration of JJ Hospital was underway late into Monday night.

First Published: May 22, 2018 11:00 IST