Min favours law to check violence against doctors
In the wake of protests by the medical fraternity in support of agitating doctors in Kolkata, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday urged West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee not to make this sensitive matter a “prestige issue” and to ensure an “amicable end” to the stir. In a letter to Mamata, the Union Minister urged her to provide a secure working environment for doctors.
He also appealed to the agitating doctors, particularly in West Bengal, to hold symbolic protests and resume work so that patients do not suffer. “Strike is certainly not the best way to protest. Patients should not be deprived of immediate and emergency healthcare facilities,” he said.
“It is a matter of concern that the agitation of the doctors in West Bengal is not heading towards resolution but seems to be getting aggravated. Better communication with the doctors and a compassionate approach to take care of the genuine problems being faced by them in day-to-day functioning would definitely be helpful in tiding over the crisis which has been created,” Vardhan said in his letter to Mamata.
“Despite getting beaten up so badly, doctors have only asked her (Mamata Banerjee) to provide them adequate security and also demanded action against the perpetrators of the violence as per the law. But instead of doing that, she warned them and gave an ultimatum which angered doctors across the country and they proceeded on strike,” he said.
“So if the chief minister acts in a sensitive manner in such a grave scenario, patients across the country will not suffer. I plead to the West Bengal chief minister to not make this an issue of prestige,” he added.
Vardhan also supported the medical fraternity’s demand for a Central law to check violence against health care workers in hospitals and said such crimes should be made non-bailable. “Govt must pass a law to make any attack on doctors a non-bailable offence with min 12-year jail. Draconian Clinical Establishment Act that treats doctors as criminals must be withdrawn (sic),” Vardhan tweeted.
A delegation of Resident Doctors Association of AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, United Resident and Doctors Association of India (URDA) and Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), met Vardhan and gave a representation to him on the violence against doctors in West Bengal.
Reacting to Vardhan’s remarks for Central law, the IMA thanked the Central Government for responding positively to its demand. “IMA wholeheartedly thanks the Prime Minister of India and the Central Government and welcomes the decision on behalf of the medical fraternity of India,” it said in a statement.
Saturday, 15 June 2019 | PNS | New Delhi
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