Healthcare services at private and government hospitals in the national capital are likely to be affected on Friday with scores of doctors deciding to boycott work for a day to express solidarity with their protesting colleagues in Kolkata. There will be a complete shutdown of all outpatient departments (OPDs), routine operation theatre services and ward visits, except emergency services in the hospitals, several medical bodies of the city have said.
Resident doctors at the AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital here worked with bandages on their heads in a symbolic protest on Thursday and called for the suspension of all non-emergency services, including OPD, on June 14 to protest against the violence in Kolkata. Several resident doctors also held a protest at Jantar Mantar against the brutal attack.
Condemning the violence in Bengal, the AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) has also urged all the RDAs across the country to join the token strike. "There is a complete breakdown of law and order, with reports of mobs attacking doctor hostels with weapons. The government has failed to provide protection and justice to doctors.
"The AIIMS RDA condemns this in words and in spirit. Residents across the country are deeply hurt by these turn of events," the RDA said in a statement. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has asked members of all its state branches to stage protests and wear black badges on Friday.
In a communique to all its state presidents and secretaries, the IMA has asked them to organise demonstrations in front of the district collectors' offices from 10 am to 12 noon on Friday and hand over a memorandum, addressed to the prime minister, to the collectors in every district. The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) observed a "Black Day" on Thursday against the brutal attack and has declared a statewide absolute shutdown on Friday.
The DMA Executive stated that the organisation is ready for an agitation to press for strong legislation and strict action against violence at hospitals. Simultaneously, all the local branches and individual members of the IMA will send an appeal to the prime minister and the Union Home Minister, demanding a Central Act on violence against doctors and in hospitals.
The IMA has also urged its state branches to communicate the information to the government doctors' organisations of the states and request for their support and issue press statements to this effect. "The gruesome incident in NRS Medical College, Kolkata, is of barbaric nature. IMA condemns the violence perpetrated on a young doctor. The entire medical fraternity expresses solidarity with the resident doctors who are on strike. The IMA headquarters hereby declares All India Protest Day on Friday," an IMA statement said.
The Federation of Resident Doctors' Association (FORDA), an umbrella body of resident doctors will also join the strike on Friday. Junior doctors in West Bengal are on a strike since Tuesday after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.
In the wake of the strike, the AIIMS has instituted contingency measures to take care of the admitted patients, including those in the ICUs and wards. As part of contingency measures, OPD services will function in a restricted manner till normalcy is restored, according to a memo put out by AIIMS medical superintendent.
Only follow-up patients with a prior appointment will be registered in OPD while registration of new patients will be done as per availability of the faculty, it said. Routine operation theatre (OT) services will remain suspended and only emergency cases will be taken up for surgical operations. Diagnostic services will also function in a restricted manner, it added.
The memo asked heads of all clinical departments will make arrangements for round-the-clock availability of doctors of concerned speciality either from research staff or by faculty members. "Under no circumstances, any inpatient ward will function without physical availability of doctors of concerned speciality," it said.
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