Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan today blamed Mamata Banerjee for the nationwide protests by doctors against the attack on a junior doctor in West Bengal earlier this week. Doctors in several cities across the country are staying away from work today to show support to their colleagues in West Bengal who have been on a strike since Tuesday.
"I appeal with folded hands to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to not make this an issue of prestige. Instead of taking action against the attackers(of the doctor), she(Mamata Banerjee) gave the doctors an ultimatum, warned and threatened them because of which doctors of West Bengal and across the country are angry," Harsh Vardhan said. He urged the doctors to hold only symbolic protests so that the health services are not disrupted.
"There should be a safe environment for doctors to work in," Dr Harsh Vardhan told NDTV.
The Union Minister met a group of protesting doctors today. He said he will write to Mamata Banerjeee and the chief ministers of all the other states about the safety of doctors in hospitals.
Scores of doctors Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Thiruvananthapuram and other cities have boycotted work for a day, hampering medical services in various.
"If one chief minister shows sensitivity and changes her behaviour, it will end the suffering of patients across the country," the minister said.
The healthcare system in West Bengal has been several hit for the last four days after the junior doctors began their strike.
During a visit to a state-run hospital in Kolkata on Thursday, Ms Banerjee warned doctors who won't return to work. Doctors who don't return to work must leave the hostel, she said. "They are outsiders. The government will not support them in any way," she said. "I condemn doctors who have gone on strike. Policemen die in line of duty but the police don't go on a strike," she added. She has accused the BJP and the CPM of engineering the strike and playing "Hindu-Muslim politics".
But the doctors defied the Chief Minister's ultimatum, saying they won't get back to work until they get better security.