Gujarat: Medical services hit due to strike

90% of private hospitals, clinics remained closed for non-emergency medical services, informs AMA president

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Gujarat: Medical services hit due to strike
Medical students protest against violence against doctors at BJ Medical college in Ahmedabad on Monday


The attack on junior doctors at Nilratan Sircar Medical College in Kolkata, which has snowballed into a major controversy, had its impact on health services in Gujarat on Monday, with medical practitioners going on a strike against the attack.

Non-essential medical services, including out-patient department (OPD) consultations, remained closed, or partially affected, in government and private hospitals, resulting in major harassment for patients and their relatives. However, all emergency services were taken care of by the agitating doctors, who wore black badges as a mark of protest against the attack on junior doctors.

Supporting the strike called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Ahmedabad Medical Association (AMA) also held protests on Monday and submitted a memorandum to the Ahmedabad police commissioner demanding that a legislation be enacted by the government to ensure safety of medical practitioners. AMA's president Mehul Shelat told DNA that 90 per cent of the private hospitals, clinics, and hospitals remained closed for non-emergency medical services.

“We condemn the attack on doctors in West Bengal. We want a law to protect doctors and medical establishments from violence and vandalism. Nearly 500 medical practitioners sat on a dharna against the attack,” Shelat said.

Meanwhile, the OPD and non-emergency medical services were only partially affected in Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad, and other state-run hospitals. Notably, only junior resident doctors were on strike on Monday and patients who have come for consultation in the OPD were taken care of by senior resident doctors, and faculty members.

Civil Hospital's superintendent MM Prabhakar said: “600 junior resident doctors were on strike, which had no considerable impact on the services rendered by Civil Hospital. Senior resident doctors and faculty members ensured that those who have come for consultation in the OPD are attended.”

The superintendent added Monday is the busiest day of the week recording the highest footfall of patients. This apart, 222 indoor admissions were also recorded in the hospital by 4 pm on Monday.

Similarly, OPD services were partially affected at Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre (IKDRC). IKDRC's director Vineet Mishra told DNA that footfall of patients in OPD has gone down on Monday by around 300 as against the usual turnout of 1,200 patients. “Senior resident doctors and faculty members are taking care of patients as well as OPD. All planned surgeries, transplants, and emergency medical procedures scheduled on Monday were carried out,” he said.

Condemning the attack on junior doctors in West Bengal, Mishra said: “Major hospitals are always referral centres where critical patients are treated. If a patient die, it does not mean that the family of the deceased can attack doctors. If doctors are beaten like this, people will not let their children join medicine.”

Junior doctors demand security

Junior Doctors' Association of BJ Medical College on Monday carried out a rally in the Civil Hospital campus and demanded security for doctors in the hospital campus. The association also submitted a memorandum demanding that only one family member of a patients should be allowed with the patient and if the patient is critical, two family members should be allowed to accompany the patient. It has also demanded that strict action should be taken against anti-social elements for attacking doctors and in case of a court case, the hospital administration should take care of the legal expenses. The association has also demanded that breath-analyser tests should be carried out on patient parties before they are allowed to enter the wards or emergency area.

Across Gujarat

Resident doctors of VS Hospital, SVP Hospital, LG Hospital, Shardaben Hospital & Nagri Eye Hospital in Ahmedabad, Surat Civil Hospital, Surat Municipal Institute of Medical Education & Research, Civil Hospitals of Vadodara, Bhuj, Rajkot, Jamnagar & Surendranagar took part in strike.

Different reactions

On being asked, why the response by doctors is different in case of the attack in Bengal versus suicide of a doctor in Mumbai, Patel said that response by Maha govt was prompt, while WB govt was adamant and it was only on Monday that it came forward to resolve the issue.

SVP Hospital doctors demand security

“All the medical colleges, which run post graduate courses witnessed strike by resident doctors. We took out rallies and submitted memorandum to local government authorities. We want to convey a message that resident doctor serves patients amid a host of hardships and their security is of utmost importance. We want a law that protect resident doctors against any kind of aggression,” said Dr Smit Patel, president of Junior Doctors' Association, Gujarat. A team of junior doctors led also met police commissioner AK Singh and submitted a memorandum seeking security if similar incident occurs in Gujarat. An estimated 1,500 resident doctors participated in the protests.

Patients Suffer

Usually, around 3,500 patients avail OPD facilities in Civil Hospital on Monday. However, the actual footfall of patients had gone down owing to the strike and 2,646 OPD patients were attended during the OPD hours. 

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