A MONTH after the nationwide strike by doctors to protest against increasing episodes of violence on their fraternity, a group of retired police officers in the city is now working closely with the medical community to set up quick response service (QRS) teams. The QRS initiative will be launched on Sunday.
The Nivrutta Police Kalyan Sanstha, in association with Core India Institute of Legal Medicine Private Limited, will set up the QRS teams.
The initiative is the brainchild of Dr Bhagyashree Kakade, who involved senior doctors like Dr S B Kelkar, founder director of National Institute of Ophthalmology, Dr Sanjay Gupte, former president of Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India, Dr Jayant Navrange, Dr Dilip Kamat and others to work closely with retired police officers.
“The fear of violence still prevails at major hospitals and clinics. Sadly, the doctor-patient relationship has changed to that of service provider and consumer. There are occasions when an unfortunate death of patient brings an unruly mob to the hospital premises, which takes on the administration and causes damage,” said Dr Kelkar.
“We need to protect ourselves and hence an initiative is being launched that involves retired police officers,” said Dr Jayant Navrange, in-charge of the medico-legal cell of the Indian Medical Association (IMA). Retired police inspector Prakash Patil said teams of retired police officers who are experts in disaster management will be involved.
The teams will work on various fronts such as audit of hospital security systems, handling tense situations as well as long term measures for preventing them, said Navrange.
“The QRS teams will conduct regular visits to hospitals. The networking with former police officers will ensure that each officer/team is given a designated police station area. Automatically the health care establishments – hospitals and clinics – in the police station area will be with the teams who will be involved in the security audit of the hospital, training of employees and undertaking regular visits to build communication between doctors, police and social support groups,” Vijay Kalaskar, who is coordinating the initiative, said.
Dr Sanjay Patil, president of Pune branch of IMA, lauded the initiative. Patil said: “This year on Doctors’ Day (July 1) the theme of IMA was zero tolerance to violence against doctors and clinical establishments. At IMA, there are 40 rapid response RUSH teams that are connected via WhatsApp and alert doctors if there is an attack by a mob or any tense incident that prevails at the clinic… In Pune, there have been at least five or six major episodes of such aggression against doctors annually.”
According to the World Health Organisation, about 8 to 38 per cent of healthcare workers report that they have suffered physical violence at some point in their careers. “Doctors admit they try their best to end the suffering of patients but in the event of an unfavourable outcome, it is unfortunate that people take law into their hands and resort to violence,” Dr Kelkar said.