Buckling under public pressure due to patients’ continued suffering on the sixth day of their state-wide agitation, junior doctors and interns of West Bengal government medical colleges and hospitals softened their stand yesterday and agreed for immediate talks with chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Following the doctors’ fresh proposal, the chief minister decided to call the protesters for a meeting today.
The agitating doctors, however, set three conditions — talks should be held at an open forum, have the presence of representatives of all 14 medical colleges and media should also be allowed to cover the proceedings. Ms Banerjee had on Saturday invited the agitators for closed-door talks, but the offer was turned down by them.
Services continued to remain affected for the sixth day in emergency wards, outdoor facilities and pathological units of many state-run hospitals and private medical facilities in the state, leaving several patients in the lurch.
According to sources, Ms Banerjee has called representatives of agitating doctors for a meeting at Nabanna, the state secretariat, today, afternoon. The state health department has suggested that one representative from each of the 14 medical colleges be allowed at the meeting but media should be kept away, sources revealed. The protesters had earlier demanded an apology from the chief minister and asked her to visit NRSMCH.
On the three conditions to Ms Banerjee, Trinamul Rajya Sabha MP and Indian Medical Association president Santanu Sen said, “A constitutional head has to be given due honour although such incidents are condemned. We have to go through a discipline. It is not decent to set conditions before a constitutional head.”
Junior doctors across the state are observing a strike in protest against an assault on two of their colleagues at the NRS, allegedly by the family members of a patient who died on Monday night.