New Delhi: Taking measures for controlling violence against doctors, Indian Medical Association (IMA) is all set to launch an online initiative that persuades its members to report assault cases of doctors on duty. “The initiative is still under the process of finalization. It will be launched in the next 2-3 days,” Dr KK Aggarwal, President, Indian Medical Association, told ETHealthWorld.
Currently, IMA has over 3 lakh members spread across 36 state branches and 1700 sub-branches. These branches are led by over 35,000 IMA leaders. “These leaders have been asked to report each and every case. The process involves cases to be filed by the branches with evidences such as videos, photos and newspaper clippings, which are then followed by formatting standard complaint and assistance, and then our investigation team will perform root analysis of these cases. We have a complete action plan ready to tackle the issue,” explained Dr Aggarwal.
A similar initiative has already been launched by Medicos Legal Action Group (MLAG), a Chandigarh-based non-profit organisation that seeks to protect and promote the interests of doctors across India. So far, 160 cases of violence against doctors have been registered with them from across the country. The agenda behind such a directory is the creation of data backed legal representation.
“In India, the number of cases of violence against doctors has been increasing with each passing year but we lack data to show it in our legal representations for the issues of our medical fraternity. Currently, we get an average of one case per day of such incidents. Our group is trying to fetch out data that will help us configure how many of these cases have been resolved or withdrawn over the years,” Dr Neeraj Nagpal, Convenor & Managing Trustee of Medicos Legal Action Group, told ETHealthWorld. According to Dr Nagpal, the directory will be updated fortnightly.
Another recent development in the arena has been a meeting of inter-ministerial committee, which recommended the government to enact a central law for cases of violence against doctors. “It has to be made a non-bailable offence for attackers because if patient’s kins are not made afraid of the law and resort to violent actions against doctors on duty, the doctors would have no other option but to flee from the situation to rescue themselves. This can result in other patients getting neglected due to which they can even lose their lives. Then it may become a case of homicide,” Dr Aggarwal asserted while appreciating the committee’s decision.
Dr Nagpal of Medicos Legal Action Group suggested that if any patient’s relatives indulge in any violent activity against a doctor on duty, they should lose rights to seek compensation in consumer or civil courts. “However, to put such petitions forward, we need to prepare strong legal representations and that’s where a registry is required,” he added.
Sharing his opinion on the IMA’s plan to launch the online registry, Dr Dheeraj Aggarwal, Member, Governing Council, Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), told ETHealthWorld, “This may help to some extent as over a period the decision will be made and implemented. What concerns us are the immediate measures that are still pending. The action should be taken now.”
Dr Aggarwal also talked about the possibility of doctors in Delhi going on a strike. “FORDA has again announced a strike in Delhi at the wake of another recent assault on a doctor-on-duty, which happened at DDU Hospital,” he said.