Maharashtra doctors called off their strike and returned to work at 8 am on 25 March.
Around 40,000 medical practitioners from the Indian Medical Association had joined around 4,500 resident doctors in Maharashtra in an almost week-long strike to protest the rising attacks against doctors.
Doctors held a press conference on 25 March to discuss their demands for security.
Doctors urged the media to refrain from calling their protest a “strike”. This is an “unprecedented mass movement” that will prevent such acts of violence against doctors from happening again, they said.
We trust that the High Court and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will ensure that violent attacks on doctors are curbed and that the perpetrators will be punished.
The doctors have demanded that hospitals be equipped with alarm systems. Their demands include additional security guard personnel and strict rules on visiting hours. The doctors have also asked that the government retract the suspension on the striking doctors.
Alarm systems to be installed immediately in all government hospitals. Around 1,100 security guards to be deployed in the hospital in three phases — first in Mumbai, then in Pune, finally in all other districts of Maharashtra.
The doctors have demanded that hospital visitors be made to adhere to strict rules. The visiting hours will be 7:30 am - 8:30 am and 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, the representatives said.
A pass system should be put in place to limit the number of visitors. For casualties, only two relatives should be allowed to visit. Only one person should be allowed to visit wards.
The medical professionals said that a committee will be constituted in order to ensure that the government meets their demands. The vigilance committee will comprise three resident doctors, two professors, one staff member and one social worker.
On questions of patient deaths, the doctors said:
All deaths are condemnable. The protest was initiated because of unsafe working circumstances. The major issue was we want a vigilance committee and accountability. The HC has take cognisance of the situation and said it will keep a check every fortnight. Let bygones be bygones.
They also said the government should initiate and propagate knowledge of the Doctors’ Protection Act at regular intervals.
Fadnavis had, on Friday, warned of legal action and had given the striking doctors an ultimatum to resume duties after his meet with their representatives. The high court had also ordered the doctors to resume work immediately.