* Kolkata’s NRS Medical College has been the epicentre of the recent stand-off as well as its origin, where the murderous assault on two young interns — Paribaha Mukhopadhyay and Yash Tekwani — on Monday set in motion the sequence of events leading to the paralysed state of Bengal’s public-sector healthcare system.
* On Thursday, chief minister Mamata Banerjee finally intervened directly and publicly in Bengal’s health-sector crisis but not in a way the agitating doctors were hoping for: she reached the SSKM Hospital campus around noon and
ordered the striking junior doctors
to “get back to work in four hours,” failing which the government would act against them, which would include eviction from hostels.
* The striking junior doctors, who were demanding the CM’s direct intervention to resolve the impasse, viewed her comments at SSKM as a threat,
defied the deadline to join work
and vowed to continue their stir till their demands for “security and justice” were met. A similar threat came from the Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s pool of 300 doctors. The doctors are demanding a strong punishment for perpetrators of violence against doctors.
* In the evening, the CM, who appeared on a Bengali news channel, made another impassioned plea to doctors to return to work: “I don’t mind what these young students have said. Behead me if you want to but please resume work.”
* It, however, was not enough to control the fallout of what happened in the afternoon at SSKM.
* Healthcare services across Delhi and Maharashtra are likely to be paralysed on Friday with doctors giving a call for a complete shutdown of OPD services and routine surgeries in government hospitals as a mark of solidarity with members of their fraternity in Bengal who have been protesting against murderous attacks on them.
* OPDs at AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital, where over 10,000 patients come daily, will remain shut too. AIIMS Patna and Raipur have also extended their support to the shutdown call.
* Indian Medical Association are likely to send an appeal to the PM and the Union home minister demanding a stringent “central hospital protection Act” to protect doctors from attack.
* In a rare show of solidarity, many doctors from corporate-run hospitals have also given their support to the protest. The resident doctors at the premier hospital wore black badges, bandages and helmets to work on Thursday.
* Perceived injustice, delay in patient care, overcrowding, long wait for appointment and investigations, shortage of security guards, lack of soft skills among healthcare workers were some of the main reasons for violence. In the majority (91%) of these cases, the perpetrators went unpunished.
* In two years (2013 and 2014) for which data is available, there were 32 cases of workplace violence at AIIMS.
* Not only India, violence against doctors is becoming the new norm in several other countries, including the USA, the UK and China.
* A recent survey of more than 3,500 emergency physicians across the US found that nearly half the doctors had been physically assaulted on the job.
* In 2011, a 10-province survey in China found that over half the physicians had been verbally abused, one-third threatened and 3.4% physically assaulted by patients over the past 12 months.
* In the UK, apart from enhanced security, some hospitals have training courses in conflict resolution for medical professions.
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