Unfazed by the government’s warning of suspension and cutting their pay, resident doctors across various hospitals in Maharashtra continued their strike for the fourth day today. Nearly 4,000 resident doctors have been striking since Monday, demanding enhanced security in the wake of a string of attacks on doctors by patients’ relatives at government hospitals across the state. The protests have been hampering the services of Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) in various hospitals.
Last night, a woman doctor of the civic-run Sion hospital here was allegedly beaten up by the relatives of a patient, which made the stand of the protesting medicos more aggressive. The civic-run KEM Hospital in Mumbai has started issuing suspension notices to the doctors who did not report to duty despite state Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan asking them to resume work by last evening.
Mahajan had warned the protesting resident doctors that they would lose six months’ pay and face suspension if they did not resume work by 8 PM yesterday. The Bombay High Court, which had castigated the doctors during a hearing on a PIL on Tuesday, would take up the matter again today.
“After the government’s directive yesterday, we have started issuing suspension notices to resident doctors in Mumbai’s KEM, Sion and Nair hospitals,” KEM Hospital’s Dean Dr Avinash Supe told PTI today.
“There are at least 1,500 resident doctors in these three hospitals who did not report to duty yesterday by 8 PM. Now, all of them will face suspension,” he said. A representative of the protesting medicos said, “The resident doctors also need armed security personnel at sensitive places on the hospital premises. There should be an alarm system so that the doctors can call the security.”
“The pass system, commonly practised in private hospitals, should be implemented to restrict the number of relatives visiting a patient,” he said.
“There is also a need to make the attack on doctors a non-bailable offence and cases should be heard before fast track courts. These are our demands and we are not asking for the moon, still the state is not addressing it on priority,” he said.
The Indian Medical Association — which has some 40,000 members in Maharashtra — had yesterday also extended support to the agitation. The Full Time Medical Teachers’ Association attached to Thane Municipal Corporation-run Rajiv Gandhi Medical College in the neighbouring district also issued a written letter extending support to the doctors’ protest.