Healthcare crisis across state forces emergency meeting at Swasthya Bhawan
Kolkata: A complete shutdown of Outpatient departments (OPDs) and various non-emergency wards at various state-run medical college hospitals in the state caused due to the prolonged ceasework by junior doctors prompted the state Health department to hold an emergency meeting at Swasthya Bhawan on Wednesday.
Even the emergency departments at the various medical colleges in the city did not function properly, with the doctors threatening not to attend to a patient unless his/her condition is critical. Health services in the medical colleges in the districts has taken a major blow as various doctors' organisations observed ceasework for 12 hours on Wednesday to protest against the attack on junior doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday.
Minister of state for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya convened the meeting with senior officials of the department in presence of medical superintendents and principals of various medical colleges in the city, to review the security system in and around the hospitals. It has been a long-standing demand of the junior doctors to ensure adequate security arrangement inside the hospital campus, so that they are not assaulted by the family members of patients.
Health Secretary Rajeeva Sinha, Director of Health Service (DHS) Dr Ajay Chakraborty, Director of Medical Education (DME) Dr Pradip Mitra and other departmental officials were present during the meeting.
Discussion on how to tide over the crisis also took place in the meeting. The agitating doctors demanded the intervention of the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and an assurance from her to check the assaults on doctors.
Sympathy has poured in for the agitating junior doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital from various doctors' organisations, which have extended moral support to their ceasework. The Health department has urged the agitating junior doctors to stop the ceasework and join their duties.
It has been learnt that Bhattacharya enquired in detail how many police and security personnel are deployed at each medical college in the city. The minister has asked the health officials to chalk out an elaborate plan on how to check the incidents of assault on doctors.
The department is eyeing a complete overhaul of the security system in hospitals. Earlier, the NRS doctors had demanded the introduction of a panic button, with which the doctors will be able to draw the attention of security personnel in case of an emergency.
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee said during a press conference that he condemns the attack on doctors and is praying for their speedy recovery. However, in the same breath he said that the junior doctors must introspect if they are doing right by denying treatment at the hospitals. "Who will take the responsibility if someone dies after being denied treatment?" Banerjee asked.