Doctors In West Bengal Defy Chief Minister Mamata Banerje’s Order; Offers To Resign Instead

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New Delhi: The stir by junior doctors in West Bengal continued for the fourth consecutive day on Friday defying warnings of punitive action by chief minister Mamata Banerjee with hundreds of doctors in state-run hospitals writing to the authorities saying they would “like to resign” from their services.

Between Thursday and Friday afternoon, as many as 642 doctors - professors, associate professors, assistant professors and medical officers - have written to the authorities.

The spate of threats to resign followed after the chief minister on Thursday ruled out any discussion with the agitating doctors. The mass resignation has only symbolic value. Individuals wishing to resign must do so on their own and it is up to the government to decide whether to accept their resignation or not. An elaborate procedure follows.

The “cease work” by the junior doctors has severely affected services in all departments of the medical colleges. The out patients’ department (OPD), which have the highest footfall in any hospital, were closed. Emergency and the departments for radiology and pathology were affected too.

“Even indoor services were affected. If junior doctors, who form the bulk of the medics in any hospital stay away from work, it’s natural that seniors cannot fill the gap. And since many senior doctors expressed their intention to resign, one can imagine the situation,” said a senior doctor at the Howrah district hospital.

Though no figures were officially available, a health department officer said that the number of junior doctors - interns, house staff and post graduate trainees – was between 2,500 and 3,000.

The establishments where doctors submitted resignations were R G Kar Medical College and Hospital (126), SSKM Hospital (175), N R S Medical College and Hospital (108), North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (119), National Medical College and Hospital (16), Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital (45), Burdwan Medical College and Hospital (35) and College of Medicine & Sagore Dutta Hospital (18).

In the national capital, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan pinned the blame for the escalation of protests by doctors on the chief minister and asked her not to make it a prestige issue.

“Doctors are feeling insecure. I would urge them to return to work in the interest of the common people, but continue their protest,” said Bharatiya Janata Party Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh.

 

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