No cuss words please, we are doctors. A medical delegation that met governor Syed Ahmed with a nine-point charter of demands on Wednesday at Raj Bhavan in the capital, raised a unique grievance.
In point No. 8 of the charter, it wanted health officials to stop verbally abusing government doctors “with immediate effect” when they came for inspections at state-run hospitals, primary health and anganvadi centres.
Never before had any Jharkhand medical delegation placed this demand before a governor formally in a charter.
The request to ban babus from using “unparliamentary and unprintable” cuss words created a stir. The governor, known for his old-fashioned courtesy and impeccable vocabulary, appeared nonplussed.
“Every time the health department babus hold a review or department meeting or inspection, they tend to use profanities and abuse doctors and nurses. This unacceptable practice is on the rise. It is fine to scold someone but not use foul language. The derogatory and abusive attitude towards male and female healthcare personnel lowers morale. Everyone has the right to minimum honour,” said A.K. Singh, Indian Medical Association (Jharkhand chapter) president.
He added that they were happy to finally bring this “grave issue before Raj Bhavan”.
“We hope this prompts a model code of conduct and behaviour at the workplace,” Singh said, adding that the governor “looked serious” and promised immediate action.
Singh and other doctors, however, were too polite to give The Telegraph actual examples of the abuses used.
“You won’t want to hear the foul language,” one said.
This apart, the delegation comprising around 15 state and private doctors, voiced their concern over pending demands, including Jharkhand’s adoption of Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act and Medical Protection Act.
Noted eye specialist Bharati Kashyap stressed on clinical establishment and medical protection acts to prevent mushrooming of illegal health hubs and ensure safety for healthcare fraternity.
“Hospitals and doctors are an easy prey for vandalism because the state doesn’t have a sunshine law to safeguard us. Unlike Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh have enforced acts to protect doctors. We had drafted the bill and submitted it to the state health department during the last government’s tenure, but nothing happened,” she said.
The team also requested regularisation of existing contractual doctors to streamline health-related issues, promotion of teachers at all three state-run medical colleges in Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad, among other issues.
“These are not new demands,” Singh said. “But we hope governor saab takes note. He asked his principal secretary N.N. Sinha to assess our petition and asked him to schedule a review meeting at the earliest with health department babus,” he added.
Perhaps a glossary of polite words can also be compiled for the meeting.