Junior doctors in West Bengal continued with their agitation for the fourth day Friday, hampering regular services in all state-run medical colleges and hospitals, and a number of private hospitals. However, emergency services were available at one or two hospitals, including Nil Ratan Sircar (NRS) Medical College and Hospital here, on Friday morning. Notwithstanding Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's warning of strict action if work is not resumed, the junior doctors carried on with their agitation. Services were totally disrupted in outdoor facilities and other departments of state-run medical colleges and hospitals and a number of private medical facilities.
The junior doctors have been agitating since Tuesday demanding security for themselves in government hospitals, after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured allegedly by relatives of a patient who died at the NRS Medical College and Hospital. The spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors, Dr Arindam Dutta, told PTI that demonstrations will continue till their demands are met. "The manner in which the chief minister threatened the junior doctors is quite unexpected... This is an insult to our community. We also condemn this... She has to apologise for what she said yesterday. "We are not outsiders and this agitation is spontaneous... We are contemplating mass resignations," Dutta said. Banerjee, who visited the state-run SSKM hospital on Thursday in the wake of disruption of medical services in several parts of the state, had warned the doctors of action if they did not resume work. She had also alleged that "outsiders" present among the agitating SSKM hospital doctors, "abused" her.
Expressing solidarity with their junior colleagues, senior doctors said that their demands were quite justified. Meanwhile, the principal and the medical superintendent of the NRS Medical College and Hospital submitted their resignations on Thursday night. The medical college's principal, Prof Saibal Mukherjee, and medical superintendent cum vice-principal Prof Saurabh Chattopadhyaya submitted their resignations to the Director of Medical Education (DME) for "failing to overcome the crisis" at the medical institution. State DME Prof Dr Pradip Kumar De had issued a directive on Thursday night to the principals and directors of all medical colleges to ensure resumption of normal services immediately at out patient and emergency departments.
Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi had on Thursday appealed to junior doctors to rejoin their duties. A team of doctors had met the governor at the Raj Bhavan on Thursday and apprised him about the assaults on doctors allegedly by relatives of a patient who had died at the NRS medical college and hospital on Saturday night. A memorandum submitted to the governor by the junior doctors is being sent to the state government for appropriate action, officials said.