Resident doctors in Maha call off stir; resume duties

Mumbai: Resident doctors across Maharashtra today called off their five-day protest against a spate of assaults and resumed duties following an ultimatum from the Bombay High Court and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The state government had also given an assurance to the protesting doctors that their demands will be looked into. “Most of the doctors have resumed duties. The OPDs have also become operational per schedule and resident doctors paid a visit to general wards as well.

We are hopeful of things getting back to normal soon,” said Dr Avinash Supe, Dean of civic-run KEM hospital here.

Resident doctors in Sion and Nair hospitals too have resumed work, he added. The doctors called off their stir after Fadnavis yesterday gave an ultimatum asking them to resume duties or face legal action.

Indicating that the government has run out of patience, Fadnavis had yesterday told the Legislative Assembly that “enough is enough. If the doctors fail to resume work today, government will not sit quietly. We cannot leave the patients to die.”

Also, the Bombay High Court had lambasted them for taking “undue advantage of its sympathy,” and asked protesting doctors to report back to work by 8 AM today or be ready for suitable action by their respective hospital managements.

More than 4,500 resident doctors had gone on “mass leave” since Monday after a series of assault took place on resident doctors in various parts of the state, affecting health services in OPDs and general wards at government and municipal-run hospitals.

Though Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) did not extend support or endorse the protest by the doctors, it was involved in negotiations with the state government from day one.

According to a statement issued by MARD in the wee hours today, their meeting with the Chief Minister last night was satisfactory. “The state government has issued a letter of assurances and we feel our demands are being addressed. We have asked our members to resume the duty from Saturday morning,” it said.

Also, the state government, on March 22 had issued a circular stating that a total of 1,100 security personnel will be provided from Police Security Corporation of which 500 will be deployed by April 5 across government hospitals in Mumbai.

In the following phases, armed personnel will be deployed in Pune, Nagpur and Aurangabad cities as well by April end. The Maharashtra chapter of IMA, backing the stir of resident doctors in state government hospitals, had yesterday rolled back their support to them shortly after the High Court warned them against continuing the agitation.
Yesterday, the IMA representatives had met the CM at Vidhan Bhavan, where Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan too was present. As per an IMA member, Fadnavis told them that the security has already been provided in 16 hospitals since Thursday.

The IMA had said in a statement that there were some 10 points on which both the parties (the IMA and the government) have agreed to in writing.

According to IMA, a committee under former DIG Pravin Dixit would conduct a security audit of all medical colleges and hospitals and submit its report to the state government. It added that other security panel comprising three resident doctors too will be appointed in every hospital.

“The other points finalised in the meeting are setting up of an alarm system, submission of a tri-monthly security report by every government hospital and empowering police posts in hospitals to record FIRs in medico-legal cases,” the statement said.