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Image source: Google Image used for representational purpose
Image source: Google
Image used for representational purpose

The committee was constituted to examine the pros and cons of bringing out a Central Legislation against the assaults on doctors on duty and clinical establishments.

The health ministry has constituted a committee for the first time to look into the aspect of violence against doctors and whether a central act can be brought in to deal with this issue.

The committee was formulated after much pressure was put by the IMA, the entire doctor’s fraternity across India, the doctor MP’s in the parliament, other parliamentarians across party lines had also highlighted this issue. The government had to act upon this. This is the beginning of the journey which would hopefully culminate into the establishment of a central act.

This committee is the first step of this process, it will submit a report to the union health ministry and in turn, the ministry will take the final course of action.

The meeting was attended by various representatives who included the Joint Secretary (M.S. Division) MOHFW, Dr Anil Mankatala DDG (P), Dte. GHS, Representative – Ministry of Home Affairs, Representative – Department of Legal Affairs, Representative, MCI, MoHFW, President/Secretary Indian Medical Association, Principal Secretary (Health) in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and, Representative – FORDA.

Dr Amrindar Singh Malhi, President, Resident Doctors Association, AIIMS, said, “We had a meeting with the government on Wednesday to discuss the central act to curb violence against doctors. The meeting was attended by legal advisors from the government, representatives from the Federation of Resident Doctors Association, and an officer of the Health Ministry. The members of the Indian Medical Association had also attended the meeting.”

“We have expressed our views on how the act should be framed. We have discussed this in detail,” added Dr Amrindar.

Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association has welcomed the Union Health Ministry’s initiative to constitute a committee to discuss the central act.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Shivkumar Utture, an IMA member from Maharashtra, stated, “It’s a good move, the Indian Medical Association had been demanding the central act for a long time now. The central act will be applicable to all the states. But, our demand is that a strict provision should be there to deter people from attacking doctors.”

The committee was formed in the wake of a spate of incidents against doctors in the last few months. In the last few days, there have been attacks on doctors which show no signs of ceasing. Dr Rajeev Gupta was shot dead in Karnal, Haryana on Saturday, July 6 while there were 2 attacks on doctors in a hospital in New Delhi and an attack on a paramedic in Nagpur.

These and many such attacks are the reason why doctors have demanded a central regulation.

The recent incidents of violence against doctors in West Bengal where the administration actively showed apathy and insensitivity towards the doctors and the fact that the perpetrators have been released on bail for a meagre surety deposit of Rs 2000/- despite nationwide protests warrants the central law with stringent provisions.

Zero conviction of assailants till date despite innumerable reported incidents and with already existing provisions necessitates a uniform central act. According to the IMA, there have been 53 attacks on doctors. The IMA had earlier raised the demand that they should be a central act which is stringent so that it can act as a deterrent to the attackers

At present only 19 states have state legislations on violence against doctors and hence bringing central law enables all the states across the country to adopt and law and this will also ensure that all the incidents reported from any hospital/clinical establishments shall be dealt uniformly by the law enforcing agencies as per the legal provisions in the law throughout the nation.

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