Amid the pan-India protest by the doctors in the aftermath of the alleged violent actions against the negligence of Mamata Banerjee government and subsequent threats to junior doctors and medical students in West Bengal, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan Singh gave his first response on Friday.
Speaking to media in the matter, the Union Health Minister appealed to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to not to turn the sensitive matter of the doctors' protest into a prestige affair. Further, adding that the doctors across the country took the step to call a pan-India protest after being given an ultimatum in West Bengal, he reiterated the doctors to not forget the oath they took to protect the patients.
"I would like to appeal to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to not turn this sensitive issue into a prestige matter. While the doctors have been demanding protection for themselves and take legal actions against those who behaved violently with us, they were not given assurance and were yelled at and given ultimatum. In the aftermath, the doctors have taken such a decision. If the Chief Minister would have taken care of the matter peacefully and with harmony, then things would have not reached this far. I appeal to the resident doctors and other doctors of the Indian Medical Association to express their agitation peacefully. Our first duty is the protection of the patients. It is important to fulfill your responsibilities diligently," said the Union Health Minister.
He also added that he will be writing not only to Mamata Banerjee, but also to the CMs of all states and health minister to ensure that the doctors and patients are given adequate protection in the medical premises. Harsh Vardhan later urged the doctors to call off the strike.
"I will write a letter to West Bengal CM and I am thinking to write to every CM and state health ministers to ensure that everyone in medical institutions, hospitals are provided security. I appeal to the doctors to call off the strike," he added.
Meanwhile, the Resident Doctors Association of AIIMS met Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan over violence against doctors in West Bengal.
The Indian Medical Association called for a Pan India strike on June 14. This came after the two-day agitation by junior doctors across Kolkata, protesting against the physical assault of an intern doctor at the NRS Medical college in the hands of the family of a patient who had died on Monday, June 10.
Following the strike West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee addressed the protest on June 13, warning the doctors to resume their duties within the next four hours and threatened to have their hostels vacated if they refused to do so. She called the matter a conspiracy by the BJP and the Left.