Junior doctors of Kolkata’s NRS Medical College and Hospital called off their week-long protest on Monday, hours after they met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the chief minister,” the junior doctors said in a statement, according to ANI. “After an enormous movement, the meeting and discussions with our CM met a logical end. Considering everything, we expect the government to solve the issues as discussed in due time.”
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all seniors, juniors, patients, common people, intelligentsia and medical fraternity of the country who spontaneously extended their support and made this movement possible,” the statement added. “We hope to maintain this unity in future.”
West Bengal Governor KN Tripathi welcomed the resolution of the crisis. “He’s happy that amicable settlement has been arrived at meeting between chief minister and doctors,” the governor’s press secretary said in a statement, according to ANI. “He hopes doctors will take up work of care and treatment of patients as per high ideals of their profession and also that state govt will take all steps committed in the meeting expeditiously.”
During the meeting earlier in the day, Banerjee assured them of better security at hospitals. The meeting between the representatives of the protesting doctors and the chief minister at the state secretariat was telecast live.
She proposed the setting up of a public relations team for state hospitals to communicate with the patients’ families so that there is no risk of doctors being subject to unruly behaviour. She also suggested that a nodal officer must be appointed to supervise the security at hospitals. She also accepted their proposal to set up a grievance cell in government hospitals, and assured doctors that such incidents will not happen in the future.
Junior doctors at NRS Hospital in Kolkata went on strike on June 11 along with their colleagues across the state, a day after the family of a patient, who died during treatment, allegedly attacked two interns – Paribaha Mukhopadhyay and Yash Tekwani. Both of them suffered head injuries. The protests then spread to the rest of the country as doctors expressed their solidarity with their injured colleagues. On Monday, doctors in Delhi, Rajasthan, Assam, Gujarat, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka and Kerala joined the strike.
All non-essential services, including outpatient departments, remained closed at many hospitals from 6 am on Monday.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Home Affairs had asked the state government for a report on the ongoing strike, saying it had received representations from doctors, healthcare professionals and medical associations across the country. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan wrote to chief ministers of all states and Union territories, urging them to ensure “strict action against any person who assaults” doctors.