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HC concern over doctors' safety, warns of contempt if steps not taken

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
The recent frequent attacks on doctors at hospitals here came under the scanner of the Delhi High Court, which today directed the authorities to take adequate measures to ensure safety and security of the medical professionals, warning of contempt if steps were not taken.

The high court took note of a news report that two resident doctors were allegedly assaulted yesterday by a patient's attendants and relatives at the Lok Nayak Hospital, which is governed by the Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC).

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar warned the authorities of contempt action if they did not ensure safety of doctors, saying it had on earlier occasions also stressed the need to provide security to them at public hospitals due to the violence they have had to endure at the hands of patient's attendants and relatives.

"Violence cannot be tolerated or permitted against the doctors. Despite direction of this court to give protection to doctors, the matter has not received attention of authorities which it deserved.

"We see no reasons as to why the authorities were unable to control such violence against the doctors," it said, adding that the entry at hospitals should be regulated, even during the busy hours.

It refrained from initiating any contempt proceedings against the Centre and Delhi government after their counsel requested the court that one opportunity be given to them to develop a strong mechanism for protecting doctors and staff of all hospitals in the national capital.

The court asked the authorities to inform it about the steps they have taken till date for safety of doctors and also the time line of the steps they proposed to take in this regard.

"We make it clear that if such steps are not taken, this court would be compelled to initiate contempt proceedings against the concerned," it said and listed the matter for further hearing on March 21.

Following yesterday's incident, the Resident Doctor's Association of MAMC had shut all outdoor and indoor services, including emergency services.

Later, the Delhi Police had registered an FIR in the case and initiated an inquiry.

The bench had last year initiated on its own proceedings against the Centre, Delhi government and other concerned after perusing a report on the rise in violent attacks on doctors. It had initiated the PIL based on a report that doctors in public hospitals were being subjected to extreme violence.

The court had expressed unhappiness over the Centre's report on the issue of number of doctors in its hospitals here, saying it was "hopelessly insufficient".

The bench had also expressed dissatisfaction with the Centre's report that the number of doctors in its hospitals had seen a massive increase in the past five years, and asked when was the last recruitment done.

Stressing the need to provide security and better facilities to doctors and patients, the bench had asked the authorities about the number of cases they had lodged in this regard and also the prosecution carried out.

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First Published: Feb 28 2018 | 6:35 PM IST

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