The doctor–patient relationship has been fraying over the years, giving way to frequent conflicts in hospitals and nursing homes. . The trust has broken down to an extent that doctors are striking work across the country. Protesting the ‘escalating violence and atrocities’ against medical practitioners, doctors have been wearing black badges, observing ‘pen down’ satyagraha by refusing to hand out prescriptions, sitting on dhars and cancelling OPD sessions. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) is now demanding that if the Central government does not bring out a law soon to ensure the safety of doctors and hospitals, it will call a tionwide indefinite strike from August 18. The decision was taken at the ‘Dilli Chalo’ march organized by IMA on Tuesday. The IMA will also launch a sigture campaign on social media, calling upon doctors to collect sigtures to be sent to the Centre seeking strict laws to curb attacks on doctors, single-window accountability with no crimil charges on doctors without intent to harm a patient, single-window registration of doctors and medical establishments, law against quacks, professiol autonomy in prescription (generic vs branded), ceiling on compensation awarded by consumer courts, and several other long standing demands. The problem is complicated by the fact that medical costs have gone stratospheric over the years. Only a fraction of the population is covered by medical insurance; only a few insurance companies offer credible mediclaim policies. The majority of the people have to dig deep into family resources, selling off land and other assets or taking loans. When the stakes are so high, explosive situations develop more frequently as patients seek costly treatment and pin all hopes on it to get well. The rising number of botched operations and various medical malpractices do not help matters. It is true that doctors at work and hospitals overall need better security in fraught times. But protecting sick and injured people from usurious and unethical practices by callous hospitals needs to be checked as well. The Central government also needs to apply itself more to the issue of universal mediclaim coverage.
Doctors on strike