Apply mind before booking doctors for culpable homicide: CM Mamata Banerjee to cops


eMediNexus    04 April 2018

KOLKATA: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday assured doctors of stepping up security to protect them from attacks by patients’ families that have become an almost everyday ordeal at hospitals. On hearing out the representatives of eight doctors’ organisations at Nabanna, the CM directed the police and health department officials to introduce a series of measure immediately to deter violence and vandalism at healthcare facilities.

Reassuring the doctors that the government was not against them, Banerjeeinstructed the police to abstain from booking doctors under section 304 of IPC for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and section 304 A of IPC for death due to negligence, at any complaint of a patient’s death.

In a measure to deter mob vandalism and assault on doctors, the CM directed the police to put up glow signs and LED display boards at all hospitals, including private facilities, announcing such an act of rioting would amount to punishable offence. The government is set to recruit 4,000 contractual security personnel for government hospitals and instal CCTV cameras there. Currently only teaching hospitals are under the surveillance of CCTV cameras.

“The CM promised to put in place a slew of measures that would discourage attacks at hospitals. She said such violence and assault on doctors would not be tolerated. We are confident her promises would be translated into action,” said Dr Sharadwat Mukhopadhyay, who represented Doctors for Patients. Besides, West Bengal Doctors’ Forum, Medical Service Centre, Association of Health Service Doctors and Service Doctors’ Forum were among the groups that had talks with the CM for an hour and a half.

Banerjee suggested that all hospitals should have grievance cells—with a glow-sign board bearing its name—to make it visible to all patients’ families. There, aggrieved families of a patients could go for consultation with counsellors before a dispute snowballed into a freefor-all. “This fruitful discussion has reaffirmed our trust in the government, especially in the CM, and we are convinced the government is not anti-doctors,” said Dr Partha Pratim, representative of Progressive Junior Doctors’ Association.

Doctors also broached a few changes in some clauses of West Bengal Clinical Establishment Act 2017, particularly those regarding single-doctor chambers. Sources said the CM instructed the health secretary to look into the issues of those chambers. The CM slated some contentious topics, such as voluntary retirement for service doctors, duty hours, transfer policy and leave rules, for discussion with the health minister.

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