New Delhi: The Centre has advised increased security and surveillance to ensure no physical violence against doctors and healthcare professionals.
The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha here today.
As per Constitutional provisions, ‘Health’ and ‘Law & Order’ are State subjects. Details of number of instances of attacks on doctors and healthcare professionals in the country are not maintained Centrally.
IMA had organized a nation-wide protest on the 18th June 2021 and had demanded Central Government to enact stringent laws and its proper implementation to curtail violence.
For inculcating an effective sense of security among the doctors on duty, the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has also issued an advisory to all States/UTs to consider immediate measures, such as:
- Security of sensitive hospitals to be managed by a designated and trained force,
- Installation of CCTV cameras and round the clock Quick Reaction Teams with effective communication / security gadgets particularly at Casualty, Emergency and areas having high footfalls,
- Well-equipped centralized control room for monitoring and quick response,
- Entry restriction for undesirable persons,
- Institutional FIR against assaulters,
- Display of legislation protecting doctors in every hospital and police station,
- Appointment of Nodal Officer to monitor medical negligence,
- Expeditious filling up of vacant posts of doctors and para-medical staff in hospitals / Primary Health Centres (PHCs) to avoid excessive burden / pressure on doctors and to maintain global doctor-patient ratio,
- Better infrastructural facilities and medical equipment and provision of extra monetary incentive for the doctors and para medical staff serving in hard/remote areas as compared to major and metro cities with better career prospects, etc.
On a subsequent occasion, the Minister of Health &Family Welfare wrote to the Chief Ministers of all States to ensure rule of law so that doctors and clinical establishments may discharge their duties and professional pursuit without any fear of violence; and to take action against the perpetrators of violence against doctors, as per law.
In the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, Government of India also passed the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2000 on 28th September 2020.
The Amended Act provides that acts of violence against healthcare personnel during any situation akin to current pandemic would be cognizable and non-bailable offences.
Commission or abetment of such acts of violence shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of three months to five years, and with fine of Rs.50,000/- to Rs.2,00,000/-.
In case of causing grievous hurt, imprisonment shall be for a term of six months to seven years and with fine of Rs.1,00,000/- to Rs.5,00,000/-.
In addition, the offender shall also be liable to pay, compensation to the victim and twice the fair market value for damage of property.