Orissa Cabinet nod for doc security Bill

November 22, 2008: The Indian Express

Bowing to Government doctors’ demand for better security at the workplace, the Orissa Government is bringing a Bill in the coming Assembly session to ensure both rigorous imprisonment and punishment for persons who assault them in hospitals and dispensaries. The law, modelled on a similar one existing in Andhra Pradesh, envisages three years jail term and a Rs 50,000 fine on persons or groups who attack doctors on duty.

Doctors often come under attack in the state when they are unable to save a patient’s life. The draft Bill, which has been cleared by the state Cabinet, says the offences under the new law will be cognizable and non-bailable. The proposed law also provides complete security to paramedical staff such as nurses, ward boys, clerks and attendants. Besides MBBS, nursing and paramedical students are likely to be covered under the law.

Protection from physical harm has been a longstanding demand of doctors. Early this month doctors working in government hospitals had threatened to resign if the Government did not enact a law to safeguard them from the ire of attendants and relatives of patients. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had assured the doctors that he would soon bring a law to this effect.

Health Minister Sanatan Bisi, who attended the Cabinet meeting on Friday, told The Indian Express that the law would have provisions of recovering money from the people accused of damaging the hospital properties. “They would be asked to pay up for the amount of damage they caused,¶ said Bisi. The Bill would be tabled in the Assembly which is beginning its session on November 26.

Orissa Medical Service Association president Madhusudan Mishra welcomed the Government move saying it would go a long way in instilling confidence in the minds of doctors. “In the last one year there have been over 100 such incidents in the state in which doctors have been assaulted by relatives of patients. In some cases doctors have been paralysed for life,¶ Mishra said.

Before Orissa, four states including Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have enacted such laws to protect the doctors.


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