Doctors Write to PM Modi to stop VIP Culture during Pandemic
New Delhi: Opposing the VIP culture prevailing in India and pointing out its impact on frontline health workers especially during the pandemic, doctors have written to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, requesting to put an end to the practice.
Pointing out the contrast of treatment between the so-called VIPs and the doctors- the frontline Covid warriors- several Medical Associations have written to PM Modi that "many govt hospitals have VIP counters for testing, allowing party workers and personal contacts of politicians and ministries to get themselves tested but in many places, doctors have no separate counter for testing."
Abolition of VIP Culture has been a long-standing demand for doctors across the country. The medical Dialogues team had been reporting about the same.
The doctors have been condemning the practice of engaging government doctors on VIP/VVIP duty without following proper guidelines.
Whenever a VIP or a VVIP were made to visit the health centre, the doctors get deployed to accompany them which is nothing but a wastage of time and available manpower. This practice happened without following any proper guidelines, the doctors had been alleging.
However, the issue turned more severe during the Coronavirus pandemic when the VIPs were given priority while conducting Covid testing or during the treatment process.
Addressing the issue, the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) in a recent letter addressed to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote, "With Due respect we want to inform you that doctors being at the forefront of this epidemic are risking their own lives but what we receive in return is standing in long queues for Covid testing, no bed or ICU availability when tested positive for our own self and the priority is being given to all the so-called politicians and their party workers who have actually held rallies and increased the spread of the virus."
"Central govt hospitals have VIP counters for testing, allowing party workers and personal contacts of politicians and ministries to get themselves tested but in many places, doctors have no separate counter for testing" mentioned the letter dated 12.04.2021.
The letter further stated, "Even when VIP counter is available for covid testing, majority of politicians call doctors at their residence which has no legal order from Medical Superintendent but is happening informally using the doctors working in govt setup and thus further reducing and wasting the limited manpower available."
Strongly opposing the VIP culture, the FAIMA letter signed by President Dr Rakesh Bagdi asked for the Prime Minister's intervention in the matter. The Twitter handle of FAIMA shared the letter with the hashtag #NO_TO_VIP_CULTURE_IN_HOSPITALS.
Soon afterwards, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) joined the move and in a letter, dated 15.04.2021, addressed to PM Modi, the IMA mentioned, "We bring to your kind notice, the genuine concern, and grievances raised by the Junior Doctors of various Medical Colleges under FAIMA."
Mentioning the matter from the FAIMA letter, IMA further added, "The working doctors are anguished at the undue stress due to this VIP culture and partial preference being awarded to politicians, bureaucrats, party workers, etc. and decreasing morale of many frontline workers."
The letter also mentioned the death of hundreds of doctors during the first wave of Coronavirus pandemic. "During the first wave 756of our doctors lost their life in the fight against corona and they are yet to be recognized as warriors and honoured by the Government," it said.
"IMA supports the demands of the Doctors in service and request yourself kindly direct the officials to streamline this at the earliest and prevent burnt phenomena percolating among the frontline workers and restore their morale," mentioned the letter signed by the National President of IMA Dr J A Jayalal.