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Plea in SC for safety, security of doctors at government hospitals

In the wake of protests by doctors in West Bengal against assault on their colleagues, a plea was filed in the Supreme Court Friday seeking to ensure safety and security of doctors in government hospitals across the country.

The petition sought directions to Union ministries of home affairs and health as also West Bengal to depute government appointed security personnel at all government hospitals across the country to ensuring safety and security of the doctors.

Due to protests, the healthcare services in the country have been badly disrupted and many people are dying because of the absence of the doctors, it said.

"The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has supported the agitation of the doctors and has directed its members of all its state branches to stage protests ad wear black badges on Friday. Many senior doctors have resigned from their government posts in order to express solidarity with the agitating doctors," it said.

The plea, filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, also sought directions to the West Bengal government to take strictest legal and penal action against the attackers who assaulted junior doctors at NRS Medical College Hospital, Kolkata, on June 10.

"As per the study conducted by IMA, more than 75 percent of doctors across the country have faced some form of violence. This study concluded that 50 percent violent incidents took place in the Intensive Care Unit of hospitals and in 70 percent of cases, the relatives of the patients were actively involved," it said.

The plea sought directions to formulate appropriate guidelines/act/rule or regulation to ensure safety and security of the doctors working at government hospitals and to ensure its compliance.

"The doctors are our saviours and particularly the doctor working in government hospitals are doing great national service, particularly to the poor and downtrodden of this country, in extremely adverse circumstances," it said.

Junior doctors in West Bengal are on a strike since June 11, demanding better security at workplace after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata allegedly by relatives of a patient who died at the hospital.

The IMA declared Friday as the "All India Protest Day" and launched a three-day nationwide protest. It also called for a strike on June 17 with withdrawal of non-essential health services.

Over 100 senior doctors of various state-run hospitals across West Bengal resigned from service. Doctors across the country went on protest to express solidarity with the doctors agitating against the attack on their colleagues in West Bengal.