Shimla: The health services came to a standstill in Himachal Pradesh as estimated 2000 doctors of government hospitals went on a mass casual leave yesterday to protest against “inadequate security” and demanding that “misbehavior with doctors be made a non-bailable offence”.
The resident doctors also expressed solidarity with the agitating doctors and only emergency services were functioning across the state.
Violence against Medical Practitioners as well as pressures coming due to VIP cultures has become a routine part of a government medical practitioner’s day. Despite repeated demands to the government, doctors’ plea seems to be falling on deaf ears.
It is reported that Government Medical Practitioners were boiling since the month of December, when a few politically influential people misbehaved with a fellow colleague at UNA Hospital. TOI accounts that on December 22, some people forced the doctor at Una hospital to see a patient in the car but when he asked them to bring the patient inside, they misbehaved despite the fact that the patient was brought dead. Later, they forced the doctor to apologize to the dead body. Himachal Pradesh Medical Officers Association (HMOA) president Dr Jiwanand Chauhan informed TOI that the tipping point for the practitioners came, when the said humiliated medical practitioner passed away after suffering a heart attack recently.
Chauhan accounted that political pushing was not limited to this case. In Another case, a doctor in Bilaspur was threatened by a Congress MLA and his supporters. The said doctor had been on leave doctore from the time he was threatened by the Congress MLA. “The doctor has locked himself in his house as he fears to invite the wrath of the MLA on coming out,” Chauhan added.
Government doctors had also given an ultimatum to the government following alleged misbehavior with a doctor at a government hospital in Bilaspur.
Later, the talks with Health Minister Kaul Singh failed on the issue of making the misbehavior with doctors a non-bailable offence as the matter pertained to the Law department. Another report in TOI adds that the doctors have demanded state health minister Kaul Singh Thakur’s resignation after he stated that small incidences keep occurring.
Himachal Pradesh BJP held the government responsible for doctors strike which caused great hardship to patients. Had the government been sensitive and addressed the grievances of the doctors, this situation would have been avoided, it said.
“The state government failed to provide healthy working environment and address the security concerns of the doctors and there was spurt in incidents of misbehavior with doctors and they took the extreme step,” chief spokesman of state BJP Rajiv Bindal said.
“The demand of the doctors to make misbehavior with doctors on duty a non-bailable offence was not considered seriously and the chief minister did not ordered any enquiry in the incident which lowered the morale off the doctors,” he added.
The state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) also extended support to the doctors and said, “It supports the mode of struggle adopted by them.”
“The doctors are working under difficult conditions but the insensitive government did not recognise this fact and doctors community was being humiliated and physically attacked but the chief minister refused even to express sympathy with the victim doctor at Bilaspur,” a party release issued here said.
“This is nothing but Mafia rule which is being justified by the highest political authority in the state and there cannot be a more shameful situation than this,” it added.