On Thursday, Mamata Banerjee escalated the ongoing crisis in West Bengal by blaming ‘outsiders’ and the BJP for the series of protests by medical professionals in the state. Now, OpIndia.com has learnt that constructive decisions were taken on the 12th of June in a meeting between the state Health & Family Welfare Department (HFWD) and the Principals and Medical Superintendent cum Vice President of Medical Colleges and Hospitals across Kolkata and some representatives of Junior Doctors.
All of this was before Mamata Banerjee destroyed the goodwill that was generated. Our sources told us that there was a possibility that the matter would have been resolved without much further delay if the West Bengal Chief Minister had not threatened the junior doctors and others of the medical fraternity and politicized the matter. We were told that talks were ongoing between the stakeholders and the state government for a speedy resolution before Banerjee worsened the situation with her remarks.
Most of the decisions taken in the meeting were concerned with increased security for the medical fraternity. The decision to conduct a joint security audit by the HFWD and Police administration within a week was taken and consequently, loopholes were to be plugged and security increased. A single point of contact regarding security in every medical institution was also proposed.
In addition to these, the decision to conduct an assessment of the need to increase the number of outsourced security personnel across medical institutions in the state was also taken. Plus, “sensitization” of the doctors and outsource security personnel in dealing with the patient parties’ resentments and grievances were to be conducted by senior police officials.
None of the decisions are concerned with the actions taken against the perpetrators of the violent attack on the doctors and interns at NRS Hospital on Monday night and the subsequent mob violence that followed in medical institutions across the state. However, that is understandable as the agenda of the meeting was increased security for medical professionals.
However, all of this occurred on Wednesday. Even after the decisions were taken, our sources told us that there was no certainty that the matter would be resolved quickly enough as the state government suffered a great trust deficit. The medical fraternity was unsure if the decisions would be implemented at all. However, as the meeting indicates, talks were underway and past precedents suggest that discussions usually lead to a resolution within a short span of time. But all of that was thrown out of the window when Banerjee, the day after, threatened the medical fraternity. The trust in the state government, which was already at an all-time low, suffered a further blow.
Since then, Professor Saibal Kumar Mukherjee and Professor Saurabh Chattopadhyay issued their resignations later on Thursday as the Principal and Medical Superintendent/Vice-Principal respectively of NRS Medical College & Hospital. Several others from Sagar Dutta Medical College and Hospital, too, handed over their resignations.
The crisis which began on Monday following the heinous attack on doctors and interns at NRS Hospital following the death of Mohammed Sayeed, who is said to be 85 years old at the time, due to natural causes hasn’t yet been resolved. And Medical colleges and hospitals across the state have been attacked and others feat that theirs might be next.