The growing attacks on doctors by friends or relatives of patients is due to lack of experts in government hospitals, the Delhi High Court said on Friday while expressing concern over the brain-drain of medical specialists from the country. “Why are our doctors going outside India and looking for jobs? It means you (government) are not making available more jobs for them, which is sad to know. We have the best doctors and best medical colleges in the world where people from other countries come to study,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Pratibha M Singh said.
The government should work on having more doctors in their hospitals as the rising attacks on government doctors by patients or their relatives was “due to availability of fewer experts in these institutions,” the bench told the central government counsel. The problem, according to the bench, was that the doctors here have more work load which is not tolerated by the patients’ relatives.
The observations came during the hearing of a plea initiated by the court on its own after perusing a news report on increasing violent attacks on the doctors. Expressing concern over doctors being beaten up, the court asked the authorities why do they not publicise the consequences of indulging in such violent activities. It asked the Centre and the Delhi government to publicly display the punishment for assaulting doctors and asked them to apprise it about the steps taken on the next date of hearing on May 29. The court on May 3 had initiated the PIL based on the report that doctors in public hospitals were being subjected to extreme violence.
Stressing the need to provide security and better facilities to the doctors and patients, the bench had asked the authorities about the number of cases they have lodged in this regard and also the prosecution carried out. On reading the report which said that resident doctors of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have decided to take self-defence classes, the bench had observed “this needs to taken care by the authorities and steps have to be taken in this regard”. “This incident is of great concern for all the doctors of the public hospitals as it relates to their safety,” the bench said, adding that “violence is not only physical, the doctors are being verbally abused”.
Besides the secretaries of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Centre and the state government, the bench also directed Indian Medical Association (IMA) to place before it positively within one week a status report with regard to the adequate security at government hospitals to tackle violence. As per the article, the AIIMS doctors’ counterparts at Lok Nayak Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College in the national capital have already undergone similar self-defence training. In March, the AIIMS resident doctors’ association had launched a unique protest to display solidarity with the striking doctors of Maharashtra, who were agitating on the same issue, by wearing helmets at work.