Extending support to residents doctors in Kolkata, who are protesting against an attack on two of their colleagues at NRS Medical College and Hospital, resident doctors of AIIMS, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) and Safdarjung Hospital will be on strike Friday.
Junior doctors of NRS Hospital have been protesting for the past four days, after two doctors were critically injured when attendants of a patient who died attacked them.
On Thursday, several doctors at AIIMS worked with bandages on their heads and arms as a symbolic protest. The Delhi Medical Association has called for a strike Friday demanding strict action against the accused, while doctors from government hospitals took out a candlelight march at Jantar Mantar. Doctors at several private hospitals have also supported the move.
Expressing concern over reports of assaults on doctors, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said: “Doctors are an integral pillar of society and often work under stressful and difficult conditions. I urge patients and their caregivers to observe restraint,” he said.
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He also urged doctors to observe restraint so that essential services to people are not disrupted. The Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) has also extended its support to the doctors in Kolkata. The association, which is an umbrella body of all resident doctors in Delhi, has decided to go on mass leave if any action is taken against doctors in West Bengal.
AIIMS doctors have further requested Resident Doctors’ Associations across the nation to join Friday’s strike. “Such incidents have been happening across the country, where doctors are mercilessly beaten up by attendants. We are here to serve the public, but our safety cannot be put at risk. The government should immediately address our concerns,” said Dr Amarinder Singh Malhi, AIIMS RDA president.
Services at AIIMS will take a hit on Friday, with the Out Patient Department (OPD) functioning on a restricted basis and only follow-up patients with prior appointments being registered. Similarly, routine surgeries will remain suspended and only emergency cases will be taken up. “Most services will be available for patients. Faculty has been asked to step up and take over OPD and emergency departments Friday. We will attend to all critical cases,” said AIIMS medical superintendent Dr DK Sharma.
Since 2017, at least 10 such cases have been reported in the capital, but no arrest has been made so far. Doctors have gone on strike 11 times in the last two years.