India

West Bengal: Patients bear brunt as junior doctors' strike enters 6th day

West Bengal: Patients bear brunt as junior doctors' strike enters 6th day

Patients have been facing the impact of junior doctors’ protest in the state as services remained affected in state-run hospitals and colleges for the sixth day on Sunday.

Signalling a way forward to resolve their face-off with the state government, the junior doctors in the state sought an “immediate end to this impasse” and said Sunday that they have decided to leave the choice of venue of talks to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The doctors, however, demanded that the venue should accommodate representatives from all medical college hospitals and the media. So far, the doctors had insisted that Banerjee visit them at NRS Medical College and Hospital for talks.

Stage set for talks, doctors want end to deadlock

“It is being portrayed that all our demands have been met and we are deliberately delaying to join duty. This is entirely false. Emergency surgeries are being done. All these are not being shown. We are with the public, we sympathise with them. But how can we do our work until we are secure? We want to restore normalcy in the healthcare sector as soon as our honourable CM meets us and agrees to listen to our demands,” said Sayantan Basu, a house staff at NRS Hospital. “A delegation of 20-30 people, comprising representatives from various medical colleges, will meet the Chief Minister when she decides to give us time,” said an intern.

Although not too many OPD patients approached the hospital being well aware of the strike, relatives of some in-house patients claim that they are suffering because of the deadlock. “My 89-year-old father was having some breathing problem. So, I admitted him to NRS on June 8, three days before the strike began,” said Shyamal Nashkar, who has come from Chakdah. “The hospital has not been able to provide him with proper oxygen facilities and he has stopped responding since Saturday morning. I think I will have to shift him to a private hospital,” he said.

However, there are many such families who support the doctors’ demand. “I support the movement. My mother is in the ICU and she is being taken care of. The demands of the doctors are justified. How can anyone be allowed to beat those who save our lives?” said Moinuddin Sheikh, a Tamluk resident.

“My father-in-law always inspired my eight-year-old daughter to become a doctor. After Paribaha’s news broke, she said that she will not become a doctor as she does not want to get beaten up. The doctor’ demand are just,” said Priya Ray, who works at a pharmaceutical company and has come to NRS to support the doctors.

Nurses and hospital staff, too, voiced the same concern. “I have been serving as an attendant to patients for 40 years and have myself been victim to attacks by patients’ families. I am here to demand safety for everyone. I know that patients have been dying in hospitals but it is the chief minister who is responsible for the deaths. She must speak to the doctors and ensure safety of all medical staff in the government hospitals,” said 60-year-old Sumitra Mondol who is posted at an emergency ward at NRS.

“Why cannot our chief minister come for a meeting with the doctors… They (junior doctors) have been saying they will end the stir if she comes to the NRS hospital for a meeting,” mother of Bastab Dasgupta, who suffers from neurological problem and is admitted at NRS Medical College and Hospital, said.

With PTI

(Shriya Dasgupta is an intern with The Indian Express)