Junior doctors call off strike in West Bengal

The protesting junior doctors in West Bengal were on Monday night set to call off their week-long stir after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced steps to scale up security for them in hospitals. An assurance to call off the strike came at an over hour-long meeting Mamata had with 24 representatives of the striking doctors at the state secretariat Nabanna in Kolkata. In an unprecedented move, the meeting was telecast live

"We are satisfied with the meeting," a representative of the doctors said in Kolkata, assuring Mamata that the strike is going to be called off. A formal announcement on withdrawal of the strike is likely to be made from the epicentre of the protest, the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata where the doctors are on strike since Monday last in protest against the assault on three of their colleagues by relatives of a patient who died there.

The junior doctors in West Bengal decided to call off week-long strike after meeting with Mamata who proposed a ten-point plan to scale up security for doctors in hospitals. She promised increased security measures to the medical fraternity after a doctors’ delegation apprised her of the problems they have been facing at medical colleges and hospitals and said they fear for their safety.

Among the measures proposed by Mamata was restricting the entry of a patient’s attendants into the emergency ward, deploying a nodal police officer for security of doctors in every hospital, formation of grievance of cells for patients’ kin and reducing the number of people who will have interface with the doctors.

Earlier on Monday, thousands of doctors went on a day-long strike across India to express solidarity with their counterparts in West Bengal affecting all non-essential services in government and private hospitals.