IMA calls for nationwide strike on Monday

IMA calls for nationwide strike on Monday
Highlights

IMA launched a four-day nationwide protest from Friday to express solidarity with the doctors agitating against the attack on their colleagues in West Bengal and has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding enactment of a central law to check violence against health care workers in hospitals.

New Delhi: IMA launched a four-day nationwide protest from Friday to express solidarity with the doctors agitating against the attack on their colleagues in West Bengal and has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding enactment of a central law to check violence against health care workers in hospitals.

Condemning any form of violence especially against medical professionals in the country, the apex body of doctors said the protest will continue on Saturday and Sunday as well, which will include wearing black badges, dharnas and peace marches, and called for a strike on Monday with withdrawal of non-essential health services. At least 3.5 lakh doctors are expected to participate in the strike.

The IMA, which had earlier called for a day-long protest, said it has taken the decision in view of the continued suffering of the resident doctors and repeated occurrence of such incidents without redressal.

Letter to Shah

In a letter to Shah, the IMA requested him "to bring a Central legislation in the form of special law against violence on doctors and health care establishments".

"Any form of violence against medical profession and facilities will be counterproductive, demoralise health providers, thus taking away the confidence and courage of medical profession especially in critical situations," it said.

"Ultimately the situation will adversely impact on patient care and safety and implications will be far-reaching."

Renewing the demand for a central law, the IMA said the law should have a provision for a minimum of seven-year jail sentence to violaters.

To ensure that the cases are registered, culprits are arrested and conviction is necessitate, appropriate mandatory provisions as provided in the POCSO Act have to be instituted, it demanded.

Hospitals should be declared as safe zones and provision of appropriate security should be the responsibility of the state, it said. "IMA condemns the recent incident of violence against Dr Paribaha Mukherjee who was brutally attacked by a violent mob at NRS Medical College, Kolkata and demands an exemplary action by the state government.

All the legitimate demands of the resident doctors in West Bengal should be accepted unconditionally," IMA Secretary-General RV Asokan said.

The IMA said all non-essential services including OPDs will be withdrawn for 24 hours from 6 am on June 17, while emergency and causality services will continue to function.

"Safety and security in hospitals have been a matter of great concern and need to be addressed. IMA has been demanding a central law against hospital violence and has declared a zero-tolerance policy against violence on doctors and healthcare establishments.

The World Medical Association has also passed a resolution against violence on healthcare establishments and urged to bring stronger legislation against this menace," Asokan said.

Protests across India

Resident doctors in several government hospitals in Kerala and Hyderabad also staged protests as they started their 'cease work' demonstrations in respective cities. Around 4,500 Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) stopped attending to patients in all the 26 government hospitals in the state simultaneously on Friday.

Similar protests were also being held in Pune, Aurangabad and Nagpur by MARD members who are demanding adequate protection for their counterparts in West Bengal.

Resident doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdarjung hospitals carried bandages on their heads in a symbolic protest and suspended all non-emergency services. Only follow-up patients with a prior appointment were being registered at the OPDs.

Diagnostic services were also functioning in a restricted manner. Several resident doctors also held a protest at the Jantar Mantar against the brutal attack on a Kolkata intern.

Junior doctors in West Bengal are on a strike since Tuesday after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.

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