MUMBAI: Notwithstanding the government's assurance to enhance security, the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors today said it would go ahead with a strike from tomorrow unless those accused of assaulting three doctors at KEM Hospital here were arrested for non-bailable offences.
Medical Education minister Vinod Tawde, after meeting the resident doctors who were injured in the incident, said CCTV cameras would be installed at 32 locations at the civic-run King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital within a month. Three doctors at the hospital were assaulted yesterday by relatives of a boy who died of dengue after an alleged delay in admitting him to ICU. While the boy's father and another person were arrested (and got bail later), it led to a flash strike at the hospital.
"The government will install CCTV cameras at 32 spots at KEM before October 30 and deploy special security guards. Also, guards from the State Security Board will be assigned for the security of doctors," Tawde told reporters. "The government will ensure that non-bailable offence is registered against all those who attacked the doctors yesterday," the minister added.
However, Dr Sagar Mundada, president of MARD, said the government's assurances were "unsatisfactory" and the association will go ahead with the indefinite strike until the four accused persons were arrested in a non-bailable case. Tawde's talks with MARD earlier in the day failed to bear any fruit.
Over 4,500 resident doctors are affiliated to MARD in the state, and the strike could badly affect the medical services in the government-run hospitals.
"Sadly, the assurances are never kept. And the assurances made this time are unsatisfactory," Mundada said. "Our strike will start from 8 pm tomorrow and will continue indefinitely till all the four accused are arrested. Merely assurances of non-bailable offence against them will not do. They need to be immediately arrested to set a precedent," Mundada told PTI. The doctors at KEM have demanded at least 145 CCTV cameras, while currently there are only ten that function. They have also sought deployment of 200 security guards in addition to the sanctioned strength of 168. MARD has also demanded that in the cases of assault on doctors, no counter-complaints should be entertained.
Only two relatives per patients should be allowed inside the hospital, security at the three prominent government-run hospitals in Mumbai -- KEM, Sion and JJ -- be reviewed, there should be a 24x7 helpline for doctors and four 'bouncers' should be deployed round the clock. Earlier, Mundada had asked why the police didn't book the accused under the IPC section 326 (causing grievous hurt with a weapon, a non-bailable offence).
"We discussed various issues with the minister (Tawde) and gave him one month's time to resolve them. But on this issue (arrest) we want immediate action," he said. Meanwhile, to maintain medical services at the KEM Hospital, the administration has roped in senior doctors, professors and assistant professors.