Govt looked at the doctors' strike from a humanitarian angle: Mamata Banerjee
Private hospitals run independently and have their own security system. It's the responsibility of the state government to help them, which we have done and will be doing if they want. After all law and order is a state subject. We want the private and government hospitals to serve medical assistance with care.
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday said that though other states had taken strict action and invoked ESMA when doctors called for strikes, the West Bengal government had looked at the junior doctors' strike earlier this month from a humanitarian angle.
Banerjee told the assembly that she had preferred to solve the situation through love.
She also mentioned the invoking of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) by the then chief minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat.
"Our government looked at the doctor's strike from a humanitarian angle. Such problems had also taken place in other states and they had taken action," she said and mentioned the BJD government's invoking the ESMA in 2008.
"If we can solve something through love then there is nothing like it. We can at any time take up disciplinary action but I believe no punishment is bigger than giving love. That is the reason we tried to bring people closer through love," Banerjee said at the state Assembly.
"Not only was ESMA imposed in Gujarat, but around 150 doctors were also arrested," she said referring to the incident in July 2009.
Junior government doctors in West Bengal had staged a seven-day-long protest since June 10 which had paralysed medical services in all the state-run hospitals to press for their for security after two of them were assaulted at the state-run Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital by the family members of a patient who had died.
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Banerjee had to intervene to end the strike and ensure that the junior doctors' demands were met.
State Minister for Health Chandrima Bhattacharyya said he state government has taken preventive measures to prevent such assaults on doctors.
Answering a question by leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan on whether the state government would provide necessary security to private hospitals if they sought it, Banerjee said her government has been providing it.
"Private hospitals run independently and have their own security system. It's the responsibility of the state government to help them, which we have done and will be doing if they want. After all law and order is a state subject. We want the private and government hospitals to serve medical assistance with care," she said.
Banerjee also stressed the need to raise the awareness of patients opting for hospital treatment and their kin that they cannot assault doctors.
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At the same time she said, "We have to do some PR while delivering the news of death of a patient to the family members and relatives," she said.
"We are trying to do some counselling for both the patients and the doctors," Banerjee added.