Monday, 30th October 2017

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Panel to consider central law on doctors' security

Move comes about three weeks after a nationwide day-long strike called by the IMA in protest against attacks on doctors

  • Published 10.07.19, 8:03 AM
  • Updated 10.07.19, 8:03 AM
  • a min read
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Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had last month said that an inter-ministerial committee had recommended in July 2017 that the ministry should suggest to all state governments to enforce provisions of special legislation to prevent violence against doctors Telegraph file picture

The Union health ministry has set up an inter-ministerial panel to examine a demand by the Indian Medical Association for central legislation to curb violence against doctors and called its first meeting on Wednesday.

The panel has been tasked with examining the “pros and cons of bringing out a central legislation against assault(s) on doctors on duty and clinical establishments,” the health ministry said in an order released on Monday.

The move comes about three weeks after a nationwide day-long strike called by the IMA in protest against attacks on doctors by patients or their caregivers. The IMA intensified its campaign following an assault on doctors at NRS Medical College in Calcutta after a man died during treatment.

The IMA, which has called for legislation with a provision for up to seven years in jail for assaults on doctors, described the health ministry’s decision to establish the panel as a victory in “the first battle” in its struggle against violence.

The new panel’s members include officials from the health ministry, home ministry, department of legal affairs, the medical superintendent of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and another central government hospital, the health secretaries of Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh and representatives of the IMA and resident doctors.

The panel’s first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.

This is at least the second such inter-ministerial panel to examine a proposal for legislation to curb violence against doctors.

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had last month said that an inter-ministerial committee had recommended in July 2017 that the ministry should suggest to all state governments to enforce provisions of special legislation to prevent violence against doctors.

Anecdotal accounts and surveys indicate that violence against doctors is widespread across the country. Surveys on samples of doctors in public hospitals and government medical colleges suggest that over half of doctors have experienced some form of abuse or violence.