Delhi AIIMS doctors don helmets, decide to go on mass casual leave

New Delhi: They say it with helmets. Routine surgeries and OPD services at major government hospitals in Delhi will be affected on March 23 as 20,000 resident doctors have threatened to go on mass casual leave to support their counterparts in Mumbai who are on strike.
Junior doctors in Maharashtra are on strike since the last three days to protest the rise in violence against them by relatives of patients. Maharashtra medical education minister Girish Mahajan warned the striking doctors to join duty by March 22 evening or face stern action, including salary cut for six months.
In Delhi, the corporation, state government and central government run hospitals treat at least 50,000 patients every day in their out-patient department.
The resident doctors have decided to be absent from the out-patient department, operation theatres and wards between 9 am and 4pm on Thursday. They, however, assured that emergency services will continue to run uninterrupted.
“This step has been taken in view of increasing number of assaults on doctors. We want to show solidarity towards our colleagues from Maharashtra. We condemn the action taken by the government of Maharashtra against doctors,” said Dr Pankaj Solanki, president of the national body, Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA).
On March 22, nearly 1,200 doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences turned up for work wearing bike helmets to express their solidarity with the Maharashtra doctors. They demanded a safe working environment through their #SavetheSaviours campaign.
“Nobody has sympathy for resident doctors who are brutally beaten up. Neither has there been any discussion on providing compensations to such doctors. Instead harsh steps are being taken against them and they are being penalized,” said Vijay Gurjar, president of resident doctors’ association at AIIMS.
The Bombay High Court earlier had come down heavily on 4,5000 resident doctors in Maharashtra who had gone on a mass casual leave. The doctors are protesting recent cases of violence against medical personnel, including instances in Dhule and Mumbai’s Sion hospital – where relatives of patients attacked their respective doctors-in-charge. The agitators said patients are usually accompanied by a large number of relatives, which puts pressure on them. They have demanded adequate security measures and a pass system, where not more than two relatives will be allowed to remain with a patient inside the ward.
The court said that if the doctors cannot work, they must resign and gave the management free reign to initiate action against the doctors.
“If the administration can’t provide security, then the government must resign,” said a release from FORDA later in the day.
Despite a rap by the court, around 3,000 resident doctors in government hospitals in Maharashtra continued their agitation for the third day on March 22.

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