The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) Wednesday gave an undertaking that henceforth they would not go on strikes. The issue of strikes and subsequent suffering of patients has been raised by a public interest litigation.
The statement was made orally by the lawyer of the doctors’ body after Justice A S Oka and Justice P D Naik pointed out from MARD’s affidavit that their stand was not clear. Besides its decision of not holding any further strike, the association raised its concerns over the safety of doctors across the state. The doctors clarified that they will hold “peaceful demonstrations” instead.
On July 2, 2015, over 4,000 resident doctors from public medical colleges across the state went on strike. They demanded better pay, security and work hours from the government and after a majority of their demands were accepted, they called off the strike.
Subsequently, a PIL was filed seeking action against the resident doctors who had gone on strike.
On the directions of the High Court, an existing grievance redressal cell was revised and seven members, including a former HC judge, were appointed. With the redressal mechanism in place, it was hoped that the issues concerning safety would be duly addressed. The doctors, however, pointed out five instances in the last one year where they claimed their safety has been jeopardised. “There have been at least five instances where resident doctors were attacked or beaten up by the parents/relatives of patients or have been verbally abused for no fault of theirs. Despite this, the state has not come up with any action plan to prevent such incidents in future,” said the affidavit filed by MARD representative, Dr Sunil Kumar Panigrahi. The doctors have also raised the issue of poor infrastructure and improper implementation of existing policies that perhaps could help doctors. “The unhygienic condition in hospitals results in doctors contracting diseases,” the affidavit further said. When the court asked the state government about their stand, there seemed some development.
Associate Advocate General Rohit Deo along with Additional Government Pleader Milind More said, “On MARD’s recommendations, we have notified 896 security guards’ posts in all hospitals across state and installation of CCTVs has begun.”