Around 20,000 resident doctors of government hospitals here, except AIIMS, went on casual leave en masse today in support of their counterparts in Maharashtra who are on strike. Healthcare services were hampered in the national capital because of the mass leave, but the resident doctors on emergency duty turned up for work.
Residents doctors from around 40 government hospitals, including RML, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Safdarjung Hospital stayed away from work, while those at AIIMS continued with their protest against assaults on doctors by wearing helmets at work for the second day.
“The action (mass causal leave) was taken in view assaults on doctors and also to show solidarity to our colleagues in Maharashtra who have been threatened with salary cuts for not joining duty,” Dr Pankaj Solanki, president of The Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) said.
FORDA is an umbrella body of all residents doctors in Delhi.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), which has around 2.7 lakh members across the country, has extended support to the strike while the doctors associated with Delhi Medical Association (DMA) have called for an Out Patient Department (OPD) bandh tomorrow.
Dr Rakesh Kumar Gupta, president of DMA, however, said indoor patients and emergency services at hospitals will not be affected.
“The incidents of assault on doctors is rising everyday. It is occurring both in government as well as private hospitals. Patients and their relatives are taking law into their hands which is not acceptable,” state secretary of DMA Dr Ashwani Goyal said.
Unfazed by the Maharashtra government’s warning of suspension and cutting their pay, around 4,000 resident doctors abstained from work for the fourth day today demanding enhanced security, in the wake of a string of attacks on doctors by patients’ kin at government hospitals in the state.
The Bombay High Court stepped in to end the stir and directed the resident doctors to resume work immediately even as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis mooted a panel to resolve security issues in state-run hospitals.
The HC observed that “medical attention” cannot wait, adding the profession of doctors is so “sacred” that they cannot afford to go on strike.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda also joined Fadnavis in appealing to the resident doctors to get back to work and asked states to take measures to improve security of doctors.