Doctors’ strike hits healthcare services hard in Assam

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Emergency services functioned normally ** Law demanded to check violence against medics

HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, June 17: Healthcare services were severely affected across the state on Monday as doctors wearing helmets and forming human chains went on a 24-hour strike in solidarity with their protesting colleagues in West Bengal.

The out patient departments (OPDs) in Gauhati Medical College Hospital, Silchar Medical College Hospital, Jorhat Medical College Hospital, Assam Medical College Hospital and other civil, and sub divisional hospitals were disrupted throughout the state due to the strike.

Doctors in Diphu Civil Hospital (DCH) in Karbi Anglong and Hamren Civil Hospital (HCH) in West Karbi Anglong staged two-hour protest in response to the call of the IMA.

On the other hand, all private doctors in the two hill districts closed their chambers during the protest.

In many government and private hospitals, OPD remained closed and scheduled surgeries were postponed. However, emergency services remained operational. A large number of patients and their relatives, caught unaware of the strike, were seen waiting outside various hospitals, appealing to authorities for help.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has given the nationwide call to withdraw non-emergency healthcare services after junior doctors in West Bengal went on a strike against a brutal attack on their colleagues by the relatives of a patient who died during treatment.

The protesting doctors are demanding a comprehensive central legislation to check violence against doctors and other medical professionals at hospitals. They also urged the West Bengal governments to fulfil the demands of the striking doctors and resolve the matter amicably at the earliest.

On the other hand, the protesting doctors in West Bengal held a meeting with chief minister Mamata Banerjee to resolve the impasse Monday afternoon.

The doctors in West Bengal have been on a strike since June 11 after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured allegedly by relatives of a patient who died at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.

The doctors, with placards in hand, were seen demanding security for medicos across the state. Some senior doctors and healthcare personnel took time off from work to participate in the protest.

“On humanitarian grounds, we are providing emergency services. Only OPDs will remain closed for the day,” the president of Junior Doctors’ Association Dr Jugtara Roy and general secretary Dr Dipanjan Goswami said in a statement here on Monday.

They sought strict laws for their protection in view of the assault in the Kolkata hospital.

“We demand laws for protection of doctors and strict implementation of legal provisions so that attendants of patients do not attack us in future,” they said.

Two doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital in the West Bengal capital sustained serious injuries in an attack by the family members and relatives of a patient, who died on June 10.

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had on Saturday asked states to consider enacting a specific legislation for protecting doctors and medical professionals from violence.

The IMA has demanded a comprehensive central law in dealing with violence on doctors and healthcare staff.

Health services were affected in various hospitals due to the strike of the doctors in the BTAD areas.

The doctors staged dharna wearing black badges in front of RNB Civil Hospital in Kokrajhar

President of Kokrajhar branch IMA, Dr D Bhowal said the association has pressed the government to take stern action against the violence against doctors that created disruption of medical services in the hospitals as doctors ongoing their strike for 24-hour.He said that IMA members and several m medical organizations are coming to extend support to the IMA strike that seek strong security and healthy welfare for doctors.

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