The Delhi High Court today took cognisance of a news report on increasing violent attacks on government doctors by patients and their relatives and asked the Centre and AAP government to apprise it about the steps taken. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gital Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra took suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the report that doctors in public hospitals were being subjected to extreme violence and issued notice to the Centre and the Delhi government.
Reading out the report that the resident doctors of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have decided to take self-defence classes, the bench observed that “this needs to taken care by the authorities and steps have to be taken in this regard”.
“This incident is of great concern for all the doctors of the public hospitals as it relates to their safety,” the bench said, adding that “violence is not only physical, the doctors are being verbally abused”.
Besides the secretaries of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Centre and the state government, the bench also directed Indian Medical Association (IMA) to place before it within 10 days a status report with regard to the adequate security at government hospitals to avoid such incidents.
It sought to know from the both the governments the existing number of hospitals in Delhi and the beds available with them. The court also asked them to provide details on outdoor and indoor patients visiting per day in the hospitals. It listed the matter for further hearing on May 19, while expressing concern over the report that nearly one in every two doctors faced violence at public hospitals.
It said the authorities needed to take the issue seriously as the number of patients have increased manifold in last few years, which may not be coping with the number of hospitals. “The doctors of the public hospitals have to be protected from such violence,” the bench said, adding that it is very humiliating and frustrating either to get beaten up or abused for no fault.
As per the report, the AIIMS counterparts at Lok Nayak Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College in the national capital have already undergone similar self-defence training.
In March, the AIIMS resident doctors’ association had launched a unique protest to display solidarity with the striking doctors of Maharashtra, who were agitating on the same issue, by wearing helmets at work.