After CM's assurance, docs call off strike
Kolkata: In a rarest of rare move, an on-camera meeting was held on Monday between the agitating junior doctors with the highest level of state administration, including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna, to resolve the impasse prevailing in state-run hospitals for the past one week. The junior medicos, convinced about the outcome of the meeting, called off their ceasework a few hours after the meeting and made it clear that they will resume work at the earliest.
A 31-member team of junior doctors from all the state medical colleges participated in the meeting, where issues related to security of doctors, hospital infrastructure, patient-doctor relationship and others were discussed at length.
"We are proud of our doctors. Thank you for coming here and giving suggestions. You may be angry with my government but please go back to work. I will be very happy if you announce the end of your ceasework now. Many patients are suffering due to the strike," Banerjee appealed to the doctors, responding to their 12 point charter of demands one by one.
She reiterated that no case has been initiated by the police against the agitating doctors in connection with their week-long stir. The entire meeting was telecast live on electronic media, as per the demand of the agitating doctors.
"Some of the steps may take time but we will put them in place. The meeting was successful. I know they (junior doctors) will join work soon," the Chief Minister said after the meeting.
The protests had begun on June 11, a day after two junior doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital were allegedly assaulted by the relatives of a deceased patient, following allegations of medical negligence. Paribaha Mukhopadhyay, one of the doctors, received serious injuries in his skull. The agitation subsequently spread from NRS to all medical colleges of the state.
"The Chief Minister has appealed to the people of the state that doctors should not be assaulted under any circumstances. Her message is relevant for not only Bengal but any other place in the country where family members of patients beat up doctors. She has also reiterated that there should be zero tolerance for violence against doctors," a junior doctor said after withdrawal of their strike.
The junior doctors also extended their gratitude to Banerjee for giving a patient hearing to their problems and visiting the injured Paribaha at a private hospital in Mullickbazar, Park Street. Banerjee had assured the junior doctors of visiting Paribaha as soon as they withdraw their agitation.
The Chief Minister also informed the junior doctors about an inquiry into the complaint of police inaction during the attack. "Police have to act when such incidents happen. Remember inaction can even lead to suspension. Action should be taken against those who forcibly enter hospitals and assault doctors, else complaints would be lodged against the concerned police personnel and action will be taken against him," she directed Director General of Police Virendra and Commissioner of Police Anuj Sharma.
Banerjee also instructed and suggested several security measures for preventing the entry of unnecessary people in wards or in emergency units.
The junior doctors were given written intimation of attending the meeting convened by the Chief Minister in the morning and a bus was arranged to take them to Nabanna in the afternoon. The doctors had insisted on holding the meeting in the presence of media, which Banerjee agreed to.