Junior doctors threaten strike in Bengal on June 12

IANS Jun 12, 2019

Protesting against an attack on junior doctors at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata, the Doctors' Forum on June 11 proposed to cease work at the outpatient departments (OPDs) of all state-run hospitals in West Bengal on June 12, a member of the Forum said.

The emergency services, however, will remain active at all hospitals, he said. "The senior doctors have decided to stop work at the OPDs on Wednesday. The way the junior doctors were attacked yesterday, we do not have any moral right to urge them to continue their work without providing them adequate security," a senior doctor and a member of the Forum told the reporters.

"Our movement is not against the patients, but it is the duty of the police to identify the hooligans and separate them from the patient parties at the hospitals. It is their responsibility to provide the doctors with a suitable environment to treat patients. Had there been an assurance from the top administrative to stand by the doctors, the situation would not have been this volatile," he said.

He also accused the state administration of not taking adequate steps to curb violence on doctors and hooliganism at the hospitals. "Serious patients will not be left untreated as the senior doctors have not stopped the emergency treatment," he added.

Protest erupted at the state-run NRS Hospital on June 11 morning bringing the regular services to a standstill, after a junior doctor was allegedly beaten up by the kin of a 75-year-old patient who died there late on June 10 night. The family members of the deceased patient alleged medical negligence.

An intern named Paribaha Mukherjee sustained serious a skull injury in the attack and has been admitted in the intensive care unit of the Institute of Neurosciences in Kolkata's Park Circus area. The junior doctors locked up the hospital gates, stopped work at the OPD and started a 'dharna' to protest against the attack. A large police contingent had to be deployed at the hospital to avoid any untoward incident.

Tension spilled onto other state-run hospitals in the city and districts, including the Calcutta Medical College and R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital. West Bengal Health Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya talked to the agitating doctors and appealed them not to stop the services. "They raised certain demands. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has spoken to the Police Commissioner. The police will take the necessary steps to ensure security for the doctors," she said.

Meanwhile, the BJP accused the Trinamool Congress of being directly involved in Monday's violence at the hospital. "A junior doctor was beaten so badly that he is in coma. The Trinamool Congress played a leading role in the violence," BJP leader Mukul Roy said.

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