Amid nationwide doctors’ stir, Centre asks states to consider enacting separate law to protect medical professionals

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Updated: June 16, 2019 7:49:01 AM

Resident doctors in West Bengal and many states are agitating for the last few days and not providing healthcare services.

doctors strikeJunior doctors hold placards during their strike in protest against an attack on an intern doctor at Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.

Amid an ongoing stir by doctors and medical professionals in West Bengal and other states, the Central government has asked states to consider enacting a specific law for protecting doctors and medical professionals. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday informed that he has written to all the Chief Ministers in this regard in view of the recent assault on doctors in Kolkata. Expressing deep concers over the current situation in Bengal, Vardhan said that strict action must be taken against any person who assaults doctors.

Vardhan who himself is a doctor by profession also forwarded the draft act provided by Indian Medical Association (IMA) — the Protection of Medical Service Persons and Medical Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss of Property) Act, 2017, to the states. He said that incidents of attacks on doctors are reported from different parts of the country and this leads to sudden strike by doctors affecting the health care services.

Also Read: Centre seeks separate reports on political violence, doctors’ strike in West Bengal

Resident doctors in West Bengal and many states are agitating for the last few days and not providing healthcare services. The Union minister noted that agitations by doctors in West Bengal seem to be getting aggravated and taking shape of the strike by both government and private doctors, all over the country.

On Friday, representatives from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Delhi Medical Association also called on the Health Minister to raise their concerns.

Juniors doctors in West Bengal are agitating since Tuesday after a mob assaulted two doctors following the death of an elderly patient at a government-run hospital in Kolkata. The situation worsened further when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee threatened doctors to return to duty immediately else strict action would be taken against the agitating doctors. She even called the doctors BJP agents and gave it a communal twist claiming BJP has been asking doctors not to treat Muslim patients. Since then, over 450 doctors have resigned and are sitting on strike. They are demanding security at the hospitals and an apology from Banerjee for playing the communal card for her political gain.

Meanwhile, the Centre on Saturday sought separate reports from the West Bengal government on political violence in the state which has claimed 160 lives in the past four years and on the ongoing doctors’ strike.

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