The doctors’ crisis in West Bengal seems to be getting far more serious with striking junior doctors on Friday rejecting a proposal from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for talks at the state secretariat Nabanna. They stuck to their stand that she would have to come down to the NRS Medical College and Hospital to listen to their grievances and apologise for having cast aspersions on them, IANS reported.
Earlier, a delegation of 5 doctors led by Sukumar Mukjherjee called met Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna and offered to resolve the stand-off between the state and the striking doctors. It was owing to this that the CM’s secretariat had sent an invite to the striking junior doctors.
After meeting CM Mamata Banerjee, Sukumar Mukherjee had said, “We have come on our own to resolve the issue as the medical services in the state are going through a crisis – both for the doctors and the patients. We want the doctors to feel secure, and the government also to keep its promise to improve the functioning of the hospital services”.
When the Director of Medical Education, Pradeep Mitra was sent to NRS to convince the striking doctors to meet with the Chief Minister, he was told that they were not in a position to meet the CM, as they would be holding a general body meeting to decide on the issue.
Sukumar Mukherjee has not decided to defer the meeting until Saturday 5 PM and expressed hope that the junior doctors would make themselves available for a talk.
It is being reported that the Bengal Governor had called on the Chief Minister to discuss the ongoing crisis but got no response from her in return.
West Bengal Governor, Keshari Nath Tripathi: I have tried to contact the CM, I have called her, till this moment there is no response from her, if she calls on me then we will discuss the matter. I have called her, let her come. #DoctorStrike pic.twitter.com/3xvKoY6yZP
— ANI (@ANI) June 14, 2019
In the meantime, after the protesting doctors refused to meet Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna, Banerjee has issued a fresh appeal to the doctors to get back to work.
#Breaking | Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) makes fresh appeal to the agitating doctors requesting them to get back to work at the earliest. She says, ‘attend to patients at the earliest’. Doctors earlier refused to meet her.
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) June 15, 2019
Interestingly, while the doctors are insisting that Mamata Banerjee visits the NRS hospital personally to meet the protesting doctors, Banerjee on her part has not done that yet as is instead issuing appeals.
Earlier, Mamata Banerjee had aggravated the situation by threatening the doctors and then by asserting that the doctors protesting are ‘outsiders’. In the meantime, there have been mass resignations from doctors across the state. Reports indicate that as many as 500 doctors have resigned from their posts so far. Indian Medical Association (IMA) has announced a pan-India strike from 17th June to 18th June. The Calcutta High Court had also come down heavily on Mamata Banerjee and asked her to resolve the issue at the earliest.
The West Bengal crisis began as a small protest by a group of junior doctors at the state-run SSKM Hospital after doctors and interns at the NRS Hospital were brutally attacked by a mob on the premises of the hospital after a patient named Mohammed Sayeed reportedly died of natural causes. As the protest began attacks against doctors further escalated and mobs attacked students and interns at the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital as well.