There was finally some relief for the patients who were on the receiving end of the cease work called by the junior doctors in four government hospitals of Kolkata. The junior doctors finally called off their strike on Tuesday evening after they were assured adequate security by Kolkata Police Commissioner. But it was not before long negotiations and hectic parleys that saw deadlines set by the government ending without any positive outcome.
The day began with state Health Minister Surya Kant Mishra reiterating Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjees warning of stringent action against the striking medicos if they failed to join work by Tuesday noon. But as the clock struck 12,the strike which began on Saturday at the premier SSKM Hospital and had spread to other government hospitals by Monday evening showed no sign of losing steam.
A delegation of junior doctors from four hospitals SSKM Hospital,Chittaranjan National Medical College and Hospital,R G Kar Memorial Hospital and National Medical College and Hospital where strike crippled the services and NRS Medical College and Hospital met Kolkata Police Commissioner in the afternoon with a list of their demands. The striking medicos wanted more security in the the wake of Saturdays incident when a family of a patient allegedly assaulted doctors after the patient died.
Among the many assurances given to the striking doctors by the police is the installation of CCTVs in all wards of the five hospitals.
The number of security personnel deployed in the hospitals will be increased and an officer-in-charge will be appointed in the police outposts of each of the five hospitals, said Joint CP Jawed Shamim.
The Detective Department will investigate the scuffle between doctors and family of the patient that took place at SSKM Hospital on Saturday night triggering the cease work. The DD will solve the case within next three months, said police.
Besides,a high-level committee comprising officials from Kolkata Police,state Home Department and Health Department has been constituted to find ways to minimise such incidents of patient-doctor conflicts in government hospitals.
The junior doctors at National Medical College was the first to lift the strike at 4 pm,followed by the rest at 6 pm. Till afternoon,services in the four government hospitals remained severly jeopardised with outdoor patients running from pillar to post in search of doctors. The situation was particularly dismal at SSKM Hospital.