Maharashtra’s medical facility has been suffering as nearly 4,000 resident doctors in the state’s government hospitals went on mass leave to protest against the attacks on their colleagues, which affecting the public healthcare system.
An activist Afak Mandaviya filed a petition before the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to the doctors to report to work immediately. The patients in various hospitals suffered as the doctors did not report to work. Over 400 surgeries were postponed at four medical colleges in Mumbai – Sion, KEM, Nair and JJ.
An official of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (Mard) said some senior resident doctors took care of the daily health check-ups of the patients. The official added their protest did not affect the emergency services.
The doctors did not report to work due to the protest regarding two recent incidents; in Dhule and another at the Sion hospital in Mumbai where the relatives of the patients attacked the respective doctors-in-charge.
On Saturday, a resident doctor of the Sion hospital’s medicine department Dr. Rohit Kumar was badly injured and harassed by the relatives of a 60-year-old woman who died while undergoing treatment.
A senior Mard official said, “There are a couple of long-pending demands from the state government, including higher wages and more security at the government hospitals. Both the demands have not been addressed to our satisfaction. Hence, we get attacked frequently and the state authorities fail to address the issue.”
Earlier, the Mard assured the Bombay High Court that it would not go on a strike and would only hold peaceful demonstrations.
State Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan said, “We are holding negotiations with the Mard members. There has been a substantial financial allocation in the state budget for infrastructure development.”
He maintained, “We are keen on increasing the number of doctors (in government hospitals) as well and have taken steps towards it. We need some time so that the changes can be felt.”
Mandaviya earlier filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and he emphasised the issue of doctors often going on strike which caused a problem to the patients.
His lawyer Datta Mane said, “During the hearings on the PIL, the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors had assured the court that henceforth, it would not give a call or go on a strike anywhere in the state and would only hold peaceful demonstrations highlighting their grievances which included attacks on doctors by relatives.”
On Monday, MARD held several meetings with Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta and the officials from the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER).
A MARD official said they have been assured that at least 500 security personnel will be deputed from the Maharashtra State Security Corporation by April 1. Also by the end of April, a total of 1,130 people will be recruited from colleges all over Maharashtra.
The Mayor and assistant municipal commissioner IS Kundan have assured the doctors that the pass system would be introduced to restrict entry of a patient’s relatives to two. The BMC said the relatives of the patients would need an entry pass to enter the hospitals and a case would be registered if anyone tries to enter the hospital without an entry pass.