Will revisit issue of crafting central law to protect doctors: Union health minister

Amid protests from the medical fraternity across the country over violence against doctors in hospitals, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday the government would ‘return’ to the issue of the editorial staff. of a central law concerning the safety of doctors in health establishments.

Vardhan said he had already written to all states asking chief ministers to consider enacting specific legislation to protect doctors and healthcare professionals from all forms of violence, while suggesting a proposed model law. by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

“We will re-examine this problem and see if we can do something at the central level to draft such a law. It was visited earlier by our lawyers,” he told reporters outside parliament.

The Union Minister further said that it was not a matter between the center and the state, while emphasizing that the safety of doctors was not in question.

“Doctors should not be beaten by anyone on hospital premises or outside and there is no difference of opinion on this,” he said.

When asked if a proposal on drafting a central law in this regard could be presented in this session of Parliament, Vardhan said: “It is not something that can be done overnight. . It will obviously take time to study. I have to recover old records. This issue had also been raised in 2017 and discussions had taken place.

“So for me to say something that I can do something in a few days will be a big pretense, but our intentions are right and our goal is that incidents like this never happen again in this country.”

Vardhan had written to all Chief Ministers on Saturday and attached a copy of the IMA Bill, the Protection of Personnel in Medical Services and Medical Service Establishments (Prevention of Violence and Harm) Act 2017 or loss of property). He also called the attention of all states and union territories for strict action against anyone who assaults doctors.

He quoted a letter dated July 7, 2017, sent by the Union Department of Health to all Chief Secretaries of States, which contains the decision taken by an interdepartmental committee set up by the department to consider the issues raised by the IMA.

The committee, in its report, had recommended that the Department of Health suggest that all state governments that do not have specific legislation to protect doctors and health care professionals consider one to strictly enforce the provisions special legislation wherever they exist or apply the IPC / CrPC provisions with force.

“The IMA has repeatedly raised this concern. Since ‘police’ and ‘law and order’ are matters of state, the government of India has repeatedly drawn the attention of state governments to the urgent need for a strong criminal justice system that emphasizes crime prevention and control,” Vardhan said.

The Protection of Personnel in Medical Services and Medical Service Establishments (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property) Bill 2017, distributed to the states, includes clauses on penalties and recovery for loss/damage to property.

Dozens of doctors across the country staged protests and boycotted work in support of fellow strikers in West Bengal and demanded a comprehensive central law for their protection.

The IMA had also written to Interior Minister Amit Shah demanding the enactment of a central law to control violence against healthcare workers in hospitals. The Supreme Medical Corps called a nationwide strike on June 17 with the withdrawal of non-essential health services.

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