Medical services in 17 government hospitals in Maharashtra were severely hit yesterday after over 4,000 resident doctors went on a mass casual Leave to protest growing incidents of attacks by patients’ relatives.
In the absence of any concrete measures by the government on their security, the doctors are likely to go on a mass leave for a second day today, the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) said.
There have been at least five attacks on resident doctors in one week, including two in the past 24 hours, said Indian Medical Association (Youth) state president Sagar Mundada.
“We met Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar but we have not got any concrete assurances on our physical safety while on duty,” Mundada said, hinting at continuing the protest today.
Late in the evening, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corp (BMC) announced a series of tough measures to curb violence against medicos, including limiting the number of relatives who will be permitted to accompany patients.
Henceforth, only two relatives of any patient will be allowed with special passes and those found without passes will be prosecuted, said Additional Municipal Commissioner I A Kundan.
Earlier, while admitting that it was the duty of the civic body to ensure security, Mahadeshwar urged the doctors to resume duty by evening failing which the civic body would consider taking action against them.
In this context, the BMC will ask for additional armed forces from the Maharashtra State Security Force which will be deployed in the hospitals.
And entry points of each hospital will be designated for different types of patients.
MARD president Yashowardhan Kabra said the sudden spate of attacks on the doctors had left them shattered and “it was difficult to work under such life-threatening conditions”.
“There have been attacks on medicos in Mumbai Sion and Wadia hospitals after which our members decided to go on individual action of availing CL,” Kabra said.
Simultaneously, the MARD is filing an affidavit in the Bombay High Court to highlight how its orders on doctors’ security and related aspects have allegedly not yet been implemented by the state government.
“In fact, last Friday we had planned a day’s mass bunking which we cancelled after assurances from the government.
“But that same night medicos were attacked in Sion Hospital followed by another attack yesterday,” Kabra said.
In Mumbai, the government hospitals hit were KEM, Sion LTMG, Nair and Sir JJ Group where a large number of resident doctors work.
Their counterparts in Kolhapur Government Hospital continued to work but wore black bands.
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