THREE MONTHS after the state government promised to increase security for doctors at hospitals, 576 guards have been posted at six government medical colleges in the first phase of the deployment of nearly 1,100 personnel promised at all government hospitals. As many as 4,000 resident doctors had staged a strike in March to protest against attacks on doctors in Dhule and at Sion Hospital in Mumbai.
The protest led to demands from doctors to increase the strength of security staff at hospitals and also to discipline relatives of patients inside hospital premises. According to a Government Regulation (GR) published in June, six government medical colleges have been provided with 576 security staff from the 584 promised in the first stage.
The remaining nine government hospitals too will soon see 504 security staff for better security, the GR reads.
While the strength of the security personnel has been increased, doctors demand better training for guards to handle mob. “All the four government hospitals in the city, including Sion, KEM, J J and Nair do see presence of Maharashtra Security Force (MSF) officials. They are mostly positioned at major corners of the premise that witness huge crowd including casualty wards, operation theaters and others,” said Aniket Gaikwad from the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD).
“Most of the staff lack training as far as handling mob is concerned. While casualty and general wards continue to see more crowd, we expect the guards to be in control and prevent commotion in the corridors which is not done. “
“High absenteeism of security personnel continues to be a concern,” said Lokesh Chirwatkar, president MARD, Sion hospital. Chirwatkar further said the hospital has never seen their presence in full strength on any day since their appointment.
“The hospital received 93 guards from around 106 promised to us. Of those, hardly 70-75 staff are present on any given day. What we also want from them is to be more sensitive about the issue.” Doctors have also stressed that authorities should adhere to the two-visitor per pass system for patients in the hospitals. However, they said, there are still some lacunae in the system.
“We still gauge a failure in the implementation of the pass system for visitors. While the mechanism should regulate the number of visitors at a given time on the corridor or in ward, we do not see the same being followed,” Chirwatkar said. “We had also demanded to give more teeth to the Doctors Protection Act by making it a non-bailable offence
which could not happen,” he added.
Doctors have, however, appreciated implementation of certain decisions like installing more X-ray machines in casualty wards to avoid rush of patients’ relatives. They had also asked to deploy more ECG machines in each ward, which too has witnessed some progress.