The Association of Medical Consultants in a statement, said, ‘We are shocked by the horrific violence against doctors in West Bengal and the total lack of response from the state government. We strongly condemn the lack of security of doctors, a problem which has now become endemic and is threating to shake the roots of the healthcare system of the mindless violence in Kolkata. The administration has been responding by empty promises to remedy the situation, but has done precious little to prevent such instances.’
There have been 52 attacks on doctors and just one conviction in the Palghar doctor attack case.
The Maharashtra Medicare Act passed in 2010 has made no significant difference as there has only been a single conviction under this Act since its inception.
Under the circumstances, a designated authority with special powers ought to be appointed under the Act so as to deliver fast track and meaningful justice. Unfortunately, this is not happening. Additional making the offence non-compoundable would make it more effective.
While speaking to the media, Dr Suhas Pingle, Indian Medical Association, State secretary, said, “This law has been in existence in Maharashtra since nine years, still there have been no convictions. I became a doctor, out of my own wish to serve others. Let us carry out this service with a calm mind. We need security so that we can have an assurance that we won’t be an attack on us if there is the patient doesn’t live. This is our humble appeal.”
The AMC strongly supports the call by IMA to protest against continuing violent attacks on doctors and hospitals. It has given a call to all members to shut their clinics and Medical Establishments on June 17, 2019, for 24 hours.
While speaking to the press, Dr Mukesh Gupta, President of the Association of Medical Consultants, said, “There is no doubt that doctor attacks are rising in the country. In opposition to the Kolkata doctor attack, the IMA doctors went on a strike. This strike received a positive response by homeopaths, Ayurvedic practitioners, unani practitioners, radiologists, and pharmacists.”
He added, “The OPD services were shut throughout the day, dates of patients were forwarded. But emergency services were on. There is a law in Maharashtra for doctor attacks. But it isn’t being implemented well. A strict law is needed to be implemented at the national level to prevent doctor attacks. We don’t just need promises, the government should bring in this law.”
While IMA state secretary, Suhas Pingle, further stated, “It is shameful that these attacks are taking place in government hospitals. There is a law for doctors security, but under this law, there was only one conviction in nine years. This law is not well-implemented.”
He added, “Doctors are working in fear. But the government is ignoring it. In civic hospitals, the security has been crippled due to financial reasons. Many hospitals don’t have a CCTV camera. Give doctors a secure environment. And bring in a stringent law to punish the accused.”
While speaking to the press, Dr Shivkumar Utture, President of the Maharashtra Medical Council , said, “The Indian Medical Association had gone on a strike to protest against attacks on doctors. We support this strike. We are trying to reduce the number of doctors’ attacks. Since the past few years, we received cases where doctors face difficulties at their workplaces. In the last two years, the council have received these cases and we have taken several decisions on such cases.”
He added, “But the government needs to bring in a central act to curb violence on doctors. If there is such a law in existence, then attacks on doctors can be reduced.”
The organisation (AMC) firmly believes that the one single measure that can control this menace is to strictly implement the existing laws and give speedy and exemplary punishment to perpetrators so as deter such acts in the future. The organisation urges civil society, media and the legal fraternity to join hands in its efforts to give doctors a safe environment in which to serve the ailing public of the country. Failure to do so will have a catastrophic effect on the already burdened healthcare system.
The medical profession has exercised tremendous restraint all these years, but has now reached a breaking point. Association of Medical Consultants pledges its whole-hearted support to the present protest and future agitation in this regard.