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Delhi Doctors Strike: 20,000 Government hospital doctors to join IMA’s Strike on Monday

Delhi Doctors Strike: 20,000 Government hospital doctors to join IMA’s Strike on Monday: Healthcare services at various government and private hospitals in the national capital are likely to take a hit on Monday as scores of doctors have decided to boycott work for a day in support of their striking colleagues in West Bengal.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had given the strike call with the withdrawal of non-essential health services across the country. IMA members will also stage a dharna at its headquarters here.

Doctors at the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital, RML Hospital as well as Delhi government facilities such as GTB Hospital, Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital will not function on Monday.

The Resident Doctor’s Association of AIIMS, however, has withdrawn its strike and decided to function as usual for now. According to a press release on Sunday evening, the RDA will hold a protest march from 8 to 9 am on Monday following which the doctors shall resume duties.

The IMA said all outpatient departments (OPDs), routine operation theatre services and ward visits will be withdrawn for 24 hours from 6 am on Monday to 6 am Tuesday. Emergency and casualty services will continue to function, it said.

Private hospital doctors were yet to confirm participation.

The strike is a fallout of an assault by relatives of a patient on doctors at a government hospital in West Bengal after the patient died during treatment last week Monday. The incident sparked protests from doctors across the country. While Kolkata doctors went on strike from Tuesday, resident doctors from AIIMS and Safdarjung on Thursday worked with a bandage on the head and wearing helmets as part of the protest.

Delhi government hospitals together see around 50,000 patients in their outpatient clinics every day. Nearly 40% of patients are from outside Delhi. Hundreds of scheduled surgeries in the hospitals are also likely to be cancelled.

“All doctors, around 15,000 associated with Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) will go on a strike tomorrow (Monday). Routine services will be affected, but we will ensure that all emergency services are running,” said Dr. Sumedh Sandanshiv, president of the resident doctors’ association.

Doctors from AIIMS and Safdarjung, who had gone on a strike on Friday, had given a 48-hour deadline to the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to meet the demands of the striking doctors from the state.

About 3,500 doctors from the two hospitals are likely to strike work tomorrow as well.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday asked states to consider enacting specific legislation for protecting doctors and medical professionals from any form of violence.

The apex medical body, IMA, has demanded a comprehensive central law in dealing with violence on doctors and healthcare staff.

Security measures and the determinants leading to violence should also be addressed, it said in a statement.

Exemplary punishment for perpetrators of violence should be a component of the central law and suitable amendments should be brought in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the IMA said.