Assured protection, Maharashtra docs call off strike

The doctors, unfazed by the government’s warning of suspension and pay cut, had abstained from work for the fourth day on Thursday.

Published: 24th March 2017 02:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2017 02:38 AM   |  A+A-

doctors of Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH), wear helmets, expressing solidarity with their Mumbai counterparts | PTI

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: Resident doctors in Maharashtra, who had struck work after incidents of patients’ relatives attacking them, called off their strike late on Thursday night after the Bombay High Court assured them that adequate security measures would be provided.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had also assured them of the same. However, the medical professionals had then insisted on a written assurance from the government.

A doctor holds a placard demanding
security, during a protest at KEM
Hospital in Mumbai Wednesday

The court, in its bid to end the four-day stir, had directed the doctors  to resume work immediately, while Fadnavis had mooted a panel to resolve security issues in State-run hospitals, since the stir had hit health services.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni that resumed hearing on a petition filed by activist Afak Mandaviya seeking action against the protesting doctors, had said, “We understand that the doctors are working in strained and horrible conditions sometimes, but we request them to resume work immediately.”

The court had observed that “medical attention” cannot wait, adding that the profession of doctors is so “sacred” that they cannot afford to go on strike. The court had also asked the State to not take punitive action against the doctors if they resume work.

Fadnavis, earlier, made a statement in the Assembly and appealed to the doctors to call off their strike. The government is ready to recruit an additional 1,100 security guards within a fortnight and a legal cell would be formed to provide free legal aid to doctors in case of assault, the CM had said.

Union Health Minister J P Nadda had also joined Fadnavis in appealing to the doctors to resume work and asked states to take measures to improve the security of doctors. Members of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) had earlier held a meeting with Fadnavis, the outcome of which was positive, said medical education minister Girish Mahajan.

The doctors, unfazed by the government’s warning of suspension and pay cut, had abstained from work for the fourth day on Thursday.

On Wednesday night, a woman doctor of the civic-run Sion hospital here was allegedly beaten up by the relatives of a patient. It had prompted the protesting medicos to adopt a more strident stand.
Nearly 4,000 resident doctors stayed away from work since Monday, demanding enhanced security in the wake of a string of attacks on doctors by patients’ relatives in government hospitals across Maharashtra.

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