To protest the violence against doctors in West Bengal, close to 2,400 doctors across the state, under the banner of the Haryana Civil Medical Services Association (HCMS), wore black clothes and bands on Friday.
In Gurugram, around 115 doctors at city’s government hospitals and primary health centres held meetings and sported black clothing to express solidarity with their protesting colleagues across the country.
The strike did not affect medical services at any of the government-run healthcare centres and hospitals, unlike Delhi, where services at four of the biggest tertiary care hospitals were affected as almost 5,000 resident doctors went on a strike.
HCMS vice-president Dr MP Singh said they had decided to not disrupt medical services in interest of the general public.
However, out-patient departments (OPD) at a few privately owned clinics remained shut from 10am to 12am as a sign of protest.
The out-patient clinics at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Safdarjung, Lok Nayak and Guru Teg Bahadur hospitals remained barely functional, with senior faculty members treating patients. Together, the hospitals see almost 35,000 in their OPD clinics, 40% of whom travel from outside Delhi for treatment.
The outpatient services at AIIMS on Friday were restricted for only old patients and no new OPD cards were issued.
Most of the nearly 100 routine surgeries that happen in the hospital had to be cancelled. “There is a waiting period of months for surgeries at AIIMS and if someone misses one day, they might have to wait a long time,” said an official, on condition of anonymity.
Across the road, at Safdarjung hospital, the out-patient clinics were not affected much even with the 1,600 missing resident doctors. “We saw 7,000 patients in the OPD, completely managed by the consultants and faculty members,” said Dr KT Bhowmik, additional medical superintendant of the hospital. The senior doctors worked with black bands to register protest.
At Lok Nayak hospital, however, where around 500 resident doctors went on a strike, the OPD services were severely impacted, with less than 2,000 patients receiving treatment. The hospital usually treats 9,000 people.
The Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan met AIIMS resident doctors’ association, among others, who demanded immediate security intervention in West Bengal and adoption of a uniform security code across government hospitals in the country.
“Heinous and repeated attacks on doctors across India, especially West Bengal, have led to this situation. The government must pass a law to make any attack on doctors a non-bailable offence with min 12-year sentence. The Clinical Establishment Act that treats doctors as criminals must be withdrawn,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan wrote on Twitter.
Apart from government hospitals, several big hospitals like Sir Ganga Ram, Maharaja Agrasen, Saroj, St Stephen’s, Akash, Balaji Action, Mata Chanan Devi among others kept their OPDs closed, so did many of the nursing homes, said Dr Girish Tyagi, president of the Delhi Medical Association.
NO OPD service on Monday
Members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Gurugram chapter, said OPD services will be shut on Monday from 6am for 24 hours, in line with the countrywide strike called by the IMD.
IMA secretary Ajay Gupta said, “Our decision to strike isn’t only because of the violence in Kolkata, but also in Haryana where such incidents are very common. There is a general animosity towards doctors.”
Terming assaults on doctors as a major failure of the government, doctors plan to call on the Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar to ensure the safety of doctors at their workplaces. “Our aim is to call on the chief minister to raise security at government and private hospitals. Cases of violence against have become the norm and shouldn’t be allowed to continue,” IMA state president Dr Jasbir Parmar said, adding that a meeting will be conducted this week to decide the next course of action.
First Published: Jun 15, 2019 04:46 IST