Tribune News Service

Karam Prakash

Patiala, October 22

The recent incidents of physical assaults and misbehavior have once again instilled a sense of fear in the mind of the medical staff on duty. According to data compiled by the Punjab Civil Medical Services Society (PCMS), over 400 incidents of violence against medical personnel, including doctors, have been reported during the past two years. “Every month, every district reported one case of violence against a doctor in the last two years,” the association said.

Deploy cops

Police should be deployed in government health centers. Violence against medical personnel, especially doctors, is an emerging crisis. Dr. Akhil Sarin, State President, PCMS Association

Very unfortunate

These incidents (attacks) are very unfortunate. We have already asked the government to provide adequate security in all hospitals. Dr. Ranjit Singh, Director, Punjab Health Department

Although there is an increasing trend in violence against duty staff, actions against the perpetrators are disproportionately low. A doctor on duty at the Community Health Centre, Dakoli, Mohali – after he was allegedly attacked on October 13 – had to go on a hunger strike to account for the incident. The victim, Dr Rajesh Kumar, said that the professional competence of the doctors was adversely affected by such incidents. “They cannot provide the best possible health services to people until there is a safe working environment. “The potential fear of violence is always looming, especially in the emergency department,” he said.

The Tribune found that most of the civilian hospitals were without adequate security. In some health centers there is not a single guard. One of the chief medical officers (CMOs), who pleaded anonymity, said: “The modus operandi of the authorities to treat doctors, especially during surprise checks, seems to make them more vulnerable. Many political party leaders, in the name of checking, threatened and abused the doctors on duty, which also instilled a sense of fear.

Another doctor, explaining the reasons for such incidents, said that most of the violence against doctors happened because of fights between two groups in OOAT clinics or because of medico-legal reports.

Dr Akhil Sarin, State President, PCMS Association, said, “Violence against medical staff, especially doctors, is a new crisis in the government health sector. Misbehavior is increasing day by day. The government should solve the problem as soon as possible.”

He demanded that police personnel be deployed in every government health center for better security of the health personnel. The association will strike if the government fails to provide a safe working environment, said Dr. Sarin.

Dr Ranjit Singh, director of the Health Department, said: “These incidents are unfortunate. We have already asked the government to ensure adequate security in all hospitals.”

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