OPD services crippled as Delhi doctors go on strike to express solidarity with protesting medicos in West Bengal
The India Medical Association has declared "All India Protest Day" against the incident and expressed solidarity with the striking doctors.
Delhi: Doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) prepare to observe strike over violence against doctors in West Bengal. pic.twitter.com/pza71njjum
— ANI (@ANI) June 14, 2019
Earlier on Thursday, resident doctors at the AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital worked with bandages on their heads in a symbolic protest on Thursday and called for suspension of all non-emergency services, including OPD, on June 14 to protest against the violence in Kolkata. Several resident doctors also held a protest at Jantar Mantar against the brutal attack.
Striking junior doctors across West Bengal will continue their strike today as they refused to end their stir till they are provided adequate security in government hospitals. They defied a deadline set by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who alleged that opposition BJP and CPI(M) were instigating the protesters as part of a "conspiracy" and giving communal colour to the issue.
Services have been affected over the past three days in emergency wards, outpatient facilities and pathological units of many state-run medical colleges and hospitals and a large number of private medical facilities in the West Bengal due to the strike by the doctors who are protesting after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the NRS Medical College and Hospital here by a mob following the death of a patient.
The opposition attacked Banerjee over the impasse, with the BJP accusing her of acting as "Hitler".
"I condemn the agitation. The junior doctors' strike is a conspiracy by the CPI(M) and the BJP," Banerjee, who also holds the health and family welfare portfolio, said and directed the police to clear the premises and only allow patients to stay. Stating that patients were suffering, she gave the doctors a four-hour deadline to rejoin service, but later revised it to 2 pm. Warning of strict action against those who do not resume work, she said they will have to vacate hostels.
Despite Banerjee's ultimatum, the agitating doctors continued their stir. A joint platform of doctors met Governor K N Tripathi, who appealed them to resume duties.
"We will continue with our agitation till our demands are fulfilled. Our demands are simple... proper security with armed policemen at all hospitals, arrest of culprits involved in the NRS attack on Saturday under non-bailable sections,
"We did not expect the chief minister to say what she did," a member of the delegation said.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief, however alleged that outsiders had entered medical colleges and hospitals to create disturbance and that she was "abused" by the doctors at the hospital.
"The BJP, with help from the CPI(M), is indulging in Hindu-Muslim politics. I am shocked to see their love affair," Banerjee said and alleged "BJP chief Amit Shah is encouraging his party cadre to create communal tension and run a propaganda on Facebook."
The TMC and the BJP are locked in a bitter turf war in West Bengal, which has been rocked by post-poll violence, with Banerjee accusing the saffron party of trying to foment trouble in the state to topple her government. The BJP has claimed that Banerjee is targeting it as she is rattled by its major gains in Lok Sabha elections.
In a Facebook post, the chief minister highlighted the plight of patients in hospitals due to the ongoing strike and claimed the government was cooperating with doctors.
Health service is always dedicated to the patients.
I, therefore, appeal to all to restore normal healthcare services to the patients without any further delay.
My Facebook post: https://t.co/oOrHMzti8E pic.twitter.com/xeTetT1uN7
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) June 13, 2019
She described the injuries sustained by the two junior doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital as "unfortunate". Five persons have been arrested in connection with the incident, Banerjee said, adding that an inquiry has also been ordered to look into complaint of negligence during treatment, resulting in the death of the patient.
"Cancer patients, kidney patients, accident victims, even children coming from distant places are suffering for not getting treatment," she said.
Banerjee also wrote to senior doctors of all medical colleges and hospitals in the state and requested them to continue taking care of patients.
NRS Medical College and Hospital principal Saibal Mukherjee and medical Superintendent cum vice-principal Prof Saurabh Chattopadhyaya have resigned for "failing to overcome the crisis" at the medical institution. Union Heath Minister Harsh Vardhan condemned the violence against doctors in Kolkata and urged patients and their attendants to exercise restraint. He said he will take up the matter of doctors' security with all chief ministers and asked the doctors to ensure that essential services to the people are not disrupted.
WATCH: Doctors in Delhi to boycott work on Friday over Kolkata hospital violence
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