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PIL in Supreme Court seeks directions to Centre to prevent attacks on doctors, healthcare workers

The Delhi Medical Association, with over 15,000 members from medical fraternity, cited the recent attacks on doctors and healthcare workers in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, Kerala, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to argue that the existing laws punishing assaulters of doctors and healthcare workers have not proved an effective deterrent.

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A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre and the authorities concerned to prevent attacks on doctors and healthcare workers by relatives of patients and others and to ensure adequate security at hospitals and medical centres across the country.

The petition, filed by the Delhi Medical Association (DMA) through advocate Sneha Kalita, highlighted 28 incidents of violent attacks on doctors or health care workers since 2017. The plea states that at present, there is no substantial Central law for protecting medical professionals, etc. It highlighted violent attacks on doctors and healthcare workers since 2017 across 28 states in the country.

The Delhi Medical Association, with over 15,000 members from the medical fraternity, cited the recent attacks on doctors and healthcare workers in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, Kerala, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to argue that the existing laws punishing assaulters of doctors and healthcare workers have not proved to be an effective deterrent.

“As per the Covid registry of martyrs report, maintained by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), while 747 doctors succumbed to Covid-19 in the first wave, 748 doctors lost their lives in the second wave,” it said.

“There is no Central policy for compensation by the government to the injured doctor/healthcare personnel or their kith and kin, if they succumb to injuries caused by the assault from relatives of the patients,” the DMA said.

The petition stated that there needs to be guidelines to evolve an effective and balanced rescue mechanism system for both the health workers and the patients in the form of help desk in every healthcare/ clinical establishments and facilities to intervene immediately to address the problem so that any kind of assault, violence or public lynching can be avoided.

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It also seeks adoption of adequate preventive, punitive and compensative measures to prevent any kind of assault against medical professionals, etc. Further, the petitioner has urged the Top Court to formulate a mechanism to ensure expeditious hearing and speedy trials of such kind of violence, assault cases against Medicare Service Personals and Healthcare workers and effective implementation of existing legislations in letter and spirit.

It is pertinent to note that the issue of attack on doctors and healthcare workers has been raised by the Indian Medical Association and other similar bodies repeatedly.

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