MHA directs states to take action against assault on healthcare workers

New Delhi: The Union Home Ministry on Saturday directed the states and the Union Territories (UTs) to proactively engage with the members of the medical fraternity to assuage their concerns, and take strict action against those who assault healthcare professionals.

The ministry made it mandatory for the states and the UTs to take all centrally advised measures for the protection of the healthcare professionals on a “priority” basis.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla issued the new advisory citing similar orders issued by the ministry on April 27 and June 9 this year in connection with the security concerns relating to healthcare establishments and professionals.

Noting that it is imperative to take strict action against those who assault healthcare professionals in the present circumstances, Bhalla suggested the states and the UTs to register institutional FIRs against the assaulters and fast-track such cases.

Besides, the states and the UTs have been advised to invoke provisions of the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020, wherever applicable.

The official further reiterated to keep a close watch on any objectionable content in social media which may exacerbate such situations, saying, “Concerted efforts should be made through posters in hospitals, social media to emphasise the valuable contributions being made by the doctors and other healthcare personnel in the fight against Covid-19.”

Bhalla mentioned that any incident of threat or assault on doctors or healthcare professionals may dampen their morale and create a sense of insecurity among them.

“This may adversely affect the healthcare response system,” he said.

Pointing at the previous advisories, Bhalla said that various remedial measures were suggested to check the recurrence of such incidents, including adequate security measures at the healthcare facilities, especially at the Covid designated hospitals, besides sharing information regarding medical resources with the public through websites and helplines, among others.

Bhalla said that development of quick response police teams at the vulnerable locations with effective communication or security gadgets; and effective local level medical intervention along with well-equipped centralised control room for monitoring were also among the measures suggested to check such incidents.

The Central government came up with the set of advisories soon after various cases of assault on healthcare professionals were reported from across the country.