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SC to ensure patients don’t suffer when doctors go on strike

The SC, in its 2014 order, had said a doctors’ strike may be deemed as “negligence warranting action for misconduct”.
The SC, in its 2014 order, had said a doctors’ strike may be deemed as “negligence warranting action for misconduct”.

A charitable society ‘People For Better Treatment’, appealed the Supreme Court with regard to November 2014 order. The order passed by the apex court on a PIL filed by it, and said the doctors’ strike-call violated SC’s order.

On Monday, the SC said it wanted to ensure that critically ill patients don’t suffer when doctors go on strike. The Chief Justice of India S A Bobde headed the bench. He issued a notice to the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on a plea seeking contempt action for holding a nation-wide strike in June.

The call for nation-wide strike was given to express solidarity for West Bengal’s doctors. The doctors were protesting against an attack on their counterpart by the family of a patient who died during treatment. Besides, the bench also issued a notice to the Centre.

The CJI also mentioned that “We also want to ensure that critically-ill patients are taken care of when doctors go on strike, but we can’t do it here…,” . However, the bench agreed to examine the issue.

The petition, in its 2014 order clearly states that a doctors’ strike may be deemed as “negligence warranting action for misconduct”.

The 2014 order provide clear guidelines against the ‘Doctors’ strike’. The SC maintains that every life is important and “the medical delivery system” should be made available “for the patients at all times.” The order further states that “innocent patients do not suffer and die due to deliberate disruption of hospital services by doctors.”  

Doctors often “resort to strikes in order to satisfy their personal grievances against the government and/or hospital authorities.”

The SC had also said in the order that “we would only express our desire that doctors, should not resort to strikes with any intermittent cause but undertake their responsibility with efficiency and utmost sincerity at all times.” The SC mentions it in a contempt plea, and referred to the strike in July.

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