Mumbai doctors' strike: Devendra Fadnavis proposes apex council to assess security concerns at hospitals

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday proposed the formation of an Apex council with government nominees and doctors in it to look into issues of
security of medical fraternity in hospitals.

He also made a fervent appeal to the striking resident doctors to get back to their work and serve the public by adhering to professional ethics and the call of duty. The idea of an apex council was mooted at a meeting held by Fadnavis with representatives of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) to discuss the demands of the of resident doctors, who are on strike over the security in the state-run hospitals.

Resident doctors protest at the Azad Maidan on Tuesday. PTI

Resident doctors protest at the Azad Maidan on Tuesday. PTI

Firstpost correspondent spoke to State Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan, who said that the Maharashtra government has promised to promptly fill up the existing 1100 vacancies in security forces.

"Fadnavis proposed setting up of an Apex council with government representatives and doctors, which would meet in every three months to resolve the issues arising from time to time," an official of the Chief Minister's Office said.

The chief minister directed the authorities concerned that adequate security be provided to sensitive hospitals with armed policeman and installation of CCTV cameras. If the doctors on duty were attacked, the expenses for their legal and medical aid would be borne by the government, the official said.

The meeting came after the Bombay High Court took strong objection to the interruption of crucial life saving services and directed the government to resolve the matter amicably.

Cracking the whip on the state government and striking doctors, court had earlier in the day ordered all striking doctors in government-run hospitals to return to work immediately, while directing the state government to take care of their concerns. The court also said that they will monitor the situation every fortnight.

The court also asked the authorities to make provisions to permit only two relatives per patient inside the hospital and said the government should deploy the assured security personnel at various hospitals. The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), whose around 4,000 members went on a mass casual leave agitation since Monday in all public hospitals, filed an affidavit with the high court that the resident doctors were prepared to work but the government and hospitals should assure them of safety and security.

Making his first comments on the issue, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday appealed to all doctors and organisations like MARD and Indian Medical Association (IMA) to withdraw their protest and assured better security and law enforcement.

"The ongoing doctors agitation has caused lot of inconvenience to the people, especially poor patients, who are being deprived of medical care," he said in the state legislature.

"Because of the acts of a few irresponsible people of attacking doctors, it is not right to deny the poor their right to access to the medical facilities. I appeal to the doctors and their organisations to call off the strike and return to work," he said.

"The state has enacted special laws to protect doctors. The quantum of punishment has been increased and attacks on doctors made a non-bailable offence," he said.

"The laws need continuous upgradation and the government is open to discussion," he added. "We will try to see that attacks on doctors do not happen and if it happens the perpetrators will be punished severely," Fadnavis said.

The agitation by MARD continued for the fourth day on Thursday. Around 40,000 member-doctors of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) working in private hospitals or as general practitioners also joined the protest since Wednesday evening. Doctors at AIIMS in New Delhi and other places also went on token strikes of solidarity.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Mar 23, 2017 18:37:50 IST

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