Scores of doctors at several government and private hospitals in Delhi held demonstrations on Friday by boycotting work, marching and raising slogans to express solidarity with their protesting colleagues in Kolkata.
A group of doctors also met Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and apprised him about the medical fraternity’s demand of ensuring safety and security of doctors in face of any violence in hospital premises.
Vardhan has assured the doctors that he will look into their demands.
Junior doctors in West Bengal are on strike since Tuesday after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured allegedly by relatives of a patient who died at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.
Doctors under the banner of the Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) held out marches in the AIIMS campus Friday, with many wearing bandages on forehead or helmets. Doctors at Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital also joined the protest.
Several doctors of Delhi government hospitals, Lok Nayak Jayaprakash (LNJP) Hospital, Dr BR Ambedkar Medical College and Hospital, DDU Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences, and private hospital like Sir Ganga Ram Hospital Friday also joined the stir.
“Yes, doctors at LNJP Hospital have joined the protest in solidarity with colleagues in Bengal. The OPD is shut, and only emergency department is functioning. The hospital OPD’s average footfall on a regular day is about 9,000. But, today only about 2,000 has visited,” the hospital’s Medical Superintendent, Dr Kishore Singh, told PTI.
He said patient services will get affected as this is the Delhi government’s biggest hospital, but, as fellow doctors, a stand has been taken to show support.
At Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, the private OPD was closed for today as a mark of solidarity, officials said.
“All doctors of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital are fully in support of our colleagues in West Bengal and strongly protest against growing tendency of violence against doctors,” a hospital spokesperson said.
The resident doctors associations of G B Pant and Guru Nanak Hospital, associated with the Maulana Azad Medical College have also joined the protest.
Condemning the violence in West Bengal, the AIIMS RDA had on Thursday urged resident doctors’ association to join the token strike.
As scores of doctors began the strike for a day, healthcare services at private and government hospitals in the national capital are being affected.
There is a shutdown of out patient departments (OPDs), routine operation theatre services and ward visits, except emergency services in several hospitals of the city.
In the wake of the strike, the AIIMS has instituted contingency measures to take care of the patients admitted, including those in the ICUs and wards.
The AIIMS medical superintendent had on Thursday put out a memo stating that as part of contingency measures, OPD services will function in a restricted manner till normalcy is restored.
Only follow-up patients with prior appointment will be registered in the OPD, while registration of new patients will be done as per availability of faculty, it said.
Routine operation theatre (OT) services will remain suspended and only emergency cases will be taken up for surgical operations. Diagnostic services will also function in a restricted manner, the memo stated.
Resident doctors at the AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital had on Thursday worked with bandages on their heads in a symbolic protest.
The AIIMS RDA had also decided to observe a ‘Black Day’ on Friday to protest against the assault on doctors in West Bengal. The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) observed a “Black Day” on Thursday against the brutal attack and had declared an absolute shutdown on Friday.
The DMA executive stated that the organisation is ready for an agitation to press for strong legislation and strict action against violence at hospitals.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has directed the members of all its state branches to stage protests and wear black badges on Friday.
In a communique to all its state presidents and secretaries, the IMA has asked them to organise demonstrations in front of the district collectors’ offices from 10 am to noon on Friday and hand over a memorandum addressed to the prime minister to the collectors in every district.
Simultaneously, all the local branches and individual members of the IMA will appeal to the prime minister and the Union home minister, demanding a central legislation against violence against doctors.
The IMA has also urged its state branches to pass on the information to government doctors’ organisations of the states and request for their support and issue a press statement to this effect.