Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare today met a delegation of Resident Doctors Association of AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, United Resident & Doctors Association of India (URDA) and Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), who gave a representation to the Health Minister on the violence against doctors in West Bengal. Expressing deep concern, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “I strongly condemn the unruly behavior and assault against doctors. I will discuss it with the Chief Minister of Bengal.” In a letter written to Ms. Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of Bengal, Dr. Harsh Vardhan urged her to ensure an amicable end to the agitation and provide a secure working environment to the doctors. He stated that the ongoing strike is causing severe hardship to the patients across the country and has adversely impacted healthcare services.
The Union Health Minister further stated that he will discuss the matter of providing safety to hospitals with the Home Ministry and also take up this matter with the Chief Ministers and Health Ministers of other States so that such incidents can be avoided in the future and doctors are provided a safe work environment. “The States should take all possible preventive and deterrent measures, as deemed required so that a peaceful environment prevails and doctors and clinical establishments discharge their duties and professional pursuit without fear or any violence and attacks on them. Together we shall ensure safe and cordial environment for doctors and patients,” he added.
While appealing to the doctors, particularly in the State of West Bengal, Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated, “Doctors should resort to other simple and symbolic ways to protest. As medical professionals their duty is towards protecting the rights of their patients. Strike is certainly not the best way to protest. Patients should not be deprived of immediate and emergency healthcare facilities.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also urged all patients and their family members to support doctors in performing their duties and professional pursuits in a peaceful and dedicated manner and not to resort to violence. “Doctors are an integral pillar of the society and often work under stressful and difficult conditions. I appeal to all patients and their caregivers to observe restraint”, Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also appealed to the State governments that all such cases of violence need to be investigated promptly to ensure that criminals get prosecuted in a time bound manner.