Health services hit as IMA declares ‘All India Protest Day’ in solidarity with Bengal doctors

Healthcare services at private and government hospitals are likely to be affected on Friday with doctors in major metro cities deciding to boycott work for a day in solidarity with counterparts in Kolkata where a standoff is underway between the Mamata Banerjee government and junior doctors. 

Striking junior doctors in West Bengal had on Thursday refused to end their stir till they are provided adequate security in government hospitals. The agitating doctors also defied a deadline set by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who came down heavily on the protesters alleging that opposition BJP and CPI(M) were instigating them as a part of a conspiracy and giving communal colour to the issue.

Banerjee on Thursday directed agitating junior doctors across the state to resume work within four hours and warned them of action if orders were not followed. She also directed the police to vacate hospital premises, asserting that no one other than the patients should be allowed on the campus.

The chief Minister on Thursday also wrote to the doctors and asked them to resume services. “Please take care of all patients, poor people are coming from all districts. I’ll be obliged & honored if you all please take full care of hospitals. they must run smoothly and peacefully,” the letter read.

The India Medical Association (IMA) has declared “All India Protest Day” on Friday against the incident and expressed solidarity with the striking doctors.

“IMA condemns the violence perpetrated on a young doctor. Entire medical fraternity expresses our solidarity with the Residents who are on strike,” the association said on its website.

IMA has asked members of all its state branches to stage protests and wear black badges on Friday.

The doctors are protesting after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured at the hospital in Kolkata by a mob following the death of a patient.

Resident doctors at Safdarjung Hospital and the AIIMS on Thursday had worked with bandages on their heads in a symbolic protest and called for the suspension of all non-emergency services, including OPD, on June 14 to protest against the violence in Bengal.