Nationwide Doctors’ Strike Today: IMA Calls For A Comprehensive Central Law To Deal With Violence On Doctors 

Doctors of NRS College and Hospital sit in protest.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) will be staging a 24-hour-long nationwide protest on Monday demanding a comprehensive central law in dealing with violence on doctors and healthcare staff, and in hospitals.

The strike is expected to partially impact media services. Non-Essential Services, including OPDs, will be closed starting from 6 am. The IMA will also stage a ‘dharna’ at IMA headquarters in Delhi starting 10 am on Monday.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) commenced a three-day nationwide protest last Friday (Jun 14) to express solidarity with the doctors at Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata who stopped working in all state-run medical institutions following an assaultby an irate Muslim mob on two interns.

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The agitating junior doctors have said there will be no work at any medical college and hospital in West Bengal until the state government assures them full protection.

The stir by the doctors in Bengal intensified in to a nationwide movement on Friday with government doctors in various states expressing solidarity and resorting to agitations.

In Delhi, scores of doctors at government and private hospitals held demonstrations by boycotting work, marching and raising slogans. They also met Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and apprised him of the medical fraternity’s demand of ensuring safety and security of doctors in face of any violence in hospital premises.

The doctors began the protest after an intern at the NRS Medical College and Hospital was seriously injured following a clash between junior doctors and relatives of a patient who died late on Monday night due to alleged negligence.

The intern, named Paribaha Mukherjee, sustained a serious skull injury in the attack.  Consequently, junior doctors locked up the hospital gates, stopped work at the OPD and started a ‘dharna’ to protest against the attack.

The announcement of a nationwide strike came a day after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asked states to consider enacting specific legislation for protecting doctors and medical professionals from any form of violence.

IMA, the apex medical body, however has demanded a comprehensive central law in dealing with violence on doctors and healthcare staff, and in hospitals. Security measures and the determinants leading to violence should also be addressed, it said in a statement. IMA wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding enactment of a central law to check violence against healthcare workers.

The apex body also demanded exemplary punishment for perpetrators of violence as a component of the central law and demanded suitable amendments should be brought in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

On June 15, Vardhan, along with a letter to all chief ministers, also attached a copy of the Draft Act provided by the IMA --the Protection of Medical Service Persons and Medical Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss of Property) Act, 2017.

(With Inputs from PTI)

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