A doctors’ protest rally in Kolkata following the attack on Dr Paribaha Mukherjee in West Bengal. (Photo: PTI) 

Doctors’ Strike To Continue On Monday, Says Indian Medical Association

The Indian Medical Association on Sunday said it will go ahead with the doctors’ strike on June 17 with withdrawal of non-essential health services across India, in the wake of the recent assault on doctors in West Bengal.

The announcement came a day after union health minister Harsh Vardhan asked states to consider enacting specific legislation for protecting doctors and medical professionals from any form of violence. IMA, however, demanded a comprehensive central law in dealing with violence on doctors and healthcare staff, and in hospitals.

Security measures and the determinants leading to violence should also be addressed, IMA said in a statement. Exemplary punishment for perpetrators of violence should be a component of the central law and suitable amendments should be brought in the Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure, the apex medical body said.

The IMA said all non-essential services, including outdoor patient department services, will be withdrawn for 24 hours from 6:00 am on Monday to 6:00 am on Tuesday. Emergency and casualty services will continue to function, it said.

The medical body had launched a four-day nationwide protest on Friday and wrote to home minister Amit Shah demanding enactment of a central law to check violence against healthcare workers.

It had also called for a countrywide strike on June 17 with withdrawal of non-essential health services. On Saturday, Vardhan, along with a letter to all chief ministers, also attached a copy of the Draft Act—The Protection of Medical Service Persons and Medical Service Institutions Act, 2017—filed by the IMA.

The violence following the attack on resident doctor Paribaha Mukherjee in West Bengal has been allowed to deteriorate into a major law and order situation, IMA said.

"The crisis should be resolved to the satisfaction of the residents and the medical professionals of West Bengal. IMA proclaims solidarity with the resident doctors of West Bengal and appeals to the government of West Bengal to address and resolve the issue on war footing," the statement said.

Representatives from the IMA and Delhi Medical Association had also called on Vardhan on Saturday. Stressing on the need for avoiding such incidents in the future, Vardhan had said law enforcement should prevail so that medical professionals discharge their duties and professional pursuit without fear of any violence.

Bloomberg Quint

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