Bengal hospital violence: 28,000 doctors across state join IMA strike in Gujarat

Doctors protest in Ahmedabad on Monday; an empty OPD at SSG Hospital in Vadodara. (Express photo)

Around 28,000 doctors across the state joined the strike called by Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday in solidarity with their West Bengal counterparts who have been protesting for the last seven days.

Dr Mehul Shah, vice president of IMA, Gujarat, said, We requested all our 8,000 members of Ahmedabad Medical Association (AMA) to participate in the 24-hour strike till 6 am Tuesday. We also requested all private hospitals as well as small and medium nursing homes to suspend all routine work with respect to OPDs (Out Patient Departments) and keep only emergency facilities running. No patient requiring immediate attention must suffer.

He added they sat on a dharna on June 13, after which they submitted a representation at the Ahmedabad police commissioner s office in Shahibaug. We have sought protection of private hospital doctors and medical students and their response has been positive.

The AMA s resolution sought a central legislation against violence on doctors and healthcare establishments. The resolution states, The law should provide a minimum of seven years imprisonment in hospital violence…Hospitals should be declared special zones and provision of appropriate security should be the responsibility of the state.

The doctors of the city s government hospitals too joined the strike.

Dr Sudhir Navadia, who is pursuing MCh in plastic surgery and is a resident doctor at civil hospital in Ahmedabad, said approximately 600 to 700 of them are participating in the strike. However, heads of departments and other senior doctors are on duty as usual. Emergency wards and trauma and casualty facilities have been kept functional.

Ramya Bhatt, CEO of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation-MET-run SVP Hospital, however, emphasised that they were completely functional.

At SVP Hospital, approximately 425 junior doctors participated in the symbolic strike called by IMA. However, all facilities were fully functional, including OPDs, managed by our senior doctors, said Bhatt.

In Surat, the resident doctors and medical students of SMIMER Medical College and Hospital and New Civil Hospital (NCH) wore black bands and chanted slogans for justice. The doctors took out a rally on the hospital premises with banners and placards, seeking justice for the victim doctors who were beaten up by the kin of a patient who died in Kolkata s Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital last week. The doctors of the ICU wards in both the hospitals, however, did not participate in the token strike.

To keep the medical services running, over 60 doctors, comprising medical officers of different primary and communtiy health care centres in Surat district, were called at the New Civil Hospital to work for the day. The tutors and associate professors of Government Medical College also remained present in the OPDs of both the NCH and Surat Municipal Corporation-run SMIMER medical college. Long queues of patients were seen in the OPDs in both the hospitals.

The NCH doctors association president Dr Akash Patel said, We (SMIMER and NCH doctors) took out a rally on the NCH campus with banners and posters and also organised a street play. We will also take out candle march on the civil hospital premises. We want that a national law should be made to deal with the accused involved in attacks on the doctors at work place. Those accused should be strictly punished.

In Vadodara, around 2,000 senior and junior doctors of SSG Hospital, Gotri Medical College and other private hospitals, associated with the IMA, participated in the nationwide strike on Monday. However, the emergency services continued without any disruptions. At SSG Hospital, the OPD, ICU and MICU wards were operational.