Resident doctors protest at the Azad Maidan demanding security after a intern was assaulted by patient's relatives in Mumbai. Photo: PTI
Doctors nationwide will strike work on Monday, escalating their protests for security after a doctor was assaulted in a government hospital in West Bengal six days ago.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) said emergency and casualty services will work during the strike but non-essential services, including OPD, will be withdrawn for 24 hours from 6 am on Monday to 6 am Tuesday.
IMA rejected Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan's suggestion that states consider enacting specific legislation for protecting medical professionals. It demanded a comprehensive central law in dealing with violence against doctors and medical staff, and in hospitals.
Doctors fear for their safety in medical colleges and hospitals in West Bengal a week after Paribaha Mukherjee, a resident doctor in a government medical college in Kolkata, was attacked, IMA said.
Junior doctors in West Bengal said on Sunday they were willing to meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a "open" place of her choice.
"We are keen to end this impasse. We are ready to hold talks with the chief minister at a venue of her choice, provided it is held in the open, in the presence of media persons, and not behind closed doors," said a spokesperson for the joint forum of junior doctors.
The state's doctors had till now insisted that Banerjee visit the NRS Medical College and Hospital, the epicentre of protests.
"We want to join our duties as early as possible in the best interests of the common people once all our demands are met with adequately and logically through a discussion.
"We are hopeful that the chief minister will be considerate enough to solve the problems," he said, adding that the strike would continue till a solution was worked out.
Junior doctors across the state are observing a strike in protest against an assault on two of their colleagues at the NRS, allegedly by the family members of a patient who died on Monday night.
Services continued to remain affected for the sixth day on Sunday in the emergency wards, outdoor facilities and pathological units of many state-run hospitals and private medical facilities in the state, leaving several patients in the lurch.