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TN doctors wear helmets, join protest seeking protection

twitter-logoPTI | June 17, 2019 | Updated 18:33 IST

Chennai, Jun 17 (PTI) Doctors in Tamil Nadu formed human chains, wore black badges and helmets as they joined their fraternity in the rest of the country to seek a central law to ensure protection and safety for them. Though services, including outpatient consultations, were not hit in the government sector, those in the private category were affected. Doctors in government hospitals worked wearing black badges, authorities here said. "We want protection and that was conveyed by wearing black badges. Our work is on as usual," a government medical college hospital dean here said. The doctors were expressing solidarity with the striking doctors in West Bengal. According to a top public health official, no type of service was affected in the outpatient department (OPD) or emergency ward. "Services were not boycotted by doctors.... But, at the same time, they expressed solidarity by holding demonstrations and wearing black badges," the official told PTI. Doctors, including postgraduate students, formed human chains in front of state-run medical college and hospitals here. Wearing black badges and sporting helmets, they held placards seeking protection. Similar protests were also held in government hospitals in other parts of Tamil Nadu. "Only emergency services are available today and outpatient services were suspended in 6,500 hospitals and clinics (in private sector) across Tamil Nadu," said S Kanasabhapathy, state president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA). Kanasabhapathy condemned the recent attack on a doctor in Kolkata and said about one lakh IMA members did not practice on Monday. The IMA state president urged the Centre to bring forward a law to ensure safety and security for healthcare professionals. Doctors and staff of Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre, the Association of Healthcare Providers of India (AHPI-TN Chapter) held a demonstration in Madurai. They expressed solidarity with their colleagues in Kolkata and protested against the "increasing assaults" on healthcare professionals by the relatives of a section of patients. S Gurushankar, the state president of the AHPI, said it was high time healthcare professionals got better safety and protection. "Such violence on doctors not only jeopardises their lives and safety. It also compromises the working of the healthcare system," Gurushankar said. Sujay Sambamoorthy, CEO of Parvathy Hospital here, wondered how doctors could function if they have to fear for their lives while treating patients. "If need be, armed police personnel should be posted at hospitals to guard against physical assaults and rowdyism," he said in a statement. A report from Puducherry said doctors in the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) and the territorial government struck work Services in the OPD, labs and also elective surgeries were suspended. However, emergency services were not affected, a JIPMER spokesperson said. Government doctors of Puducherry staged an hour-long dharna in front of the Indira Gandhi Government General Hospital and Research Institute. A delegation of government doctors later handed over a memorandum to Health Minister Malladi Krishna Rao, seeking protection through statutory measures. A health department spokesman told PTI that medical services in government-run hospitals did not suffer any setback. PTI VGN CORR APR HMB

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