KOLKATA: The doctors’ strike that started in Kolkata earlier this week has now spread across India with the doctors’ association of AIIMS showing full support to their West Bengal colleagues.
After entire healthcare system in West Bengal was crippled over the past four days, now doctors’ in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities in India especially AIIMS hospitals in the national capital, Raipur, Patna and Punjab are observing protest shutdown.
Resident doctors in several government hospitals in Kerala and Hyderabad also staged protests as they started their ‘cease work’ demonstrations in respective cities.
Around 4,500 Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) stopped attending to patients in all the 26 government hospitals in the state simultaneously on Friday.
MARD General Secretary Deepak Mundhe told IANS the doctors will keep off all routine duties between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and the hospital administration has been informed to ensure all other services are not hampered or patients inconvenienced.
A large number of doctors gathered outside the KEM Hospital with banners, posters to express solidarity with the doctors who were assaulted in Kolkata on Tuesday following the death of a patient in a state-run hospital.
Similar protests were also being held in Pune, Aurangabad and Nagpur by MARD members who are demanding adequate protection for their counterparts in West Bengal.
Senior and junior resident doctors of several government hospitals in the national capital on Friday also went on the one day token strike and boycotted work. Except for emergency services, there will be full shutdown of all outpatient departments (OPDs), routine operation theatre services and ward visits, the AIIMS association said.
Resident doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdarjung hospitals carried bandages on their heads in a symbolic protest and suspended all non-emergency services. Only follow-up patients with a prior appointment were being registered at the OPDs.
Diagnostic services were also functioning in a restricted manner. Several resident doctors also held a protest at the Jantar Mantar against the brutal attack on a Kolkata intern.
Condemning the violence in Bengal, the AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) has urged all the RDAs across the country to join the token strike. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also asked members of all its state branches to stage protests and wear black badges on Friday.
Junior doctors in West Bengal are on a strike since Tuesday after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.
In the wake of the strike, the AIIMS has instituted contingency measures to take care of the admitted patients, including those in the ICUs and wards.