More than 40,000 doctors in Maharashtra are boycotting work today as part of a strike call given by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in support of their agitating colleagues in West Bengal, an official said.
Doctors, from various government and private hospitals in the state, are mainly boycotting the OPD (Out-Patient Department) and other non-essential health services, he said. The IMA earlier gave the strike call for today, with withdrawal of non-essential health services across the country in the wake of the recent assault on doctors in West Bengal.
"Over 40,000 doctors and other medical practitioners in Maharashtra have decided to support their colleagues in West Bengal who are protesting against their Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee," an IMA official said.
However, the emergency services will not be affected and those already hospitalised will continue to get all the necessary medication and attention, he said.
"The OPD services have been suspended at various hospitals in support of the strike call," IMA Maharashtra's honorary secretary Dr Suhas Pingale said.
Junior doctors in West Bengal are on strike since June 11 after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured allegedly by relatives of a patient who died at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.
In a show of solidarity, medical practitioners across the country have decided not to work, leaving patients in the lurch.
The IMA has demanded a comprehensive central law in dealing with violence on doctors and health care staff. Security measures and the determinants leading to violence should also be addressed, it said earlier in a statement.
Exemplary punishment for perpetrators of violence should be a component of the central law and suitable amendments be brought in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the IMA said.
The medical body launched a four-day nationwide protest from Friday and wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, demanding enactment of the central law to check violence against health care workers.