“Enough is Enough”: We will not be silenced; we will speak up.
Help us in putting a Stop to Violence in the Health Care Sector

Over the past few months, as healthcare providers in the Government and Private Sectors, we have experienced an increase in violence in our workplaces. Every day we go to work knowing that we may be verbally or physically abused. Doctors in every health care sector are being punched, kicked, spat on and sworn at. It is time to speak up, and say clearly and emphatically: “Violence is not part of our job!” This is the message and ardent appeal, we the members of medical fraternity desperately want to bring to the notice and seek immediate intervention from the powers that rule.
It’s a pressure cooker out here for the medical professionals on duty to save lives and reduce human sufferings. Higher rates of violences, both physically and psychologically are all on the rise, and as a result the quality of care is declining. Violence is a symptom of an unhealthy work environment. It contributes to demotivated medical work force and brings in more unfavourable clinical outcomes, thus constituting a vicious cycle unfavourable for the care seekers as well as the care givers.
We strongly feel that all health care workers should have a right to work in safe workplaces which are free from all forms of violence, bullying, harassment and abuse – whatever the form and whereever the source. This is a Call to Action – one that encourages all Medicos to tackle the issue of violence. Collectively, speaking with one loud voice, we can put a stop to violence. WBDF is calling on governments, employers, and other health care stakeholders to come together because we all have an interest in tackling this problem.
As doctors, we are committed to caring for our patients, to helping them get well. When we experience violence, and the related physical and psychological impacts, it affects our ability to deliver quality care. Violence contributes to burnout, compassion fatigue, depression, and apathy, all of which erode our ability to provide quality care and safeguard the health and wellbeing of our patients. It is needless to mention that, if doctors and paramedics aren’t safe, neither are patients. If the Constitution gives the Right to safeguard citizens safety, then we as doctors also deserve workplaces with zero tolerance of violence. Change won’t be easy. We are working in workplaces where violence has been normalised, thanks to the State and law enforcing machinery. We need a drastic change in the culture of our health care workplace – from one that responds to violence after it occurs to one that prevents violence before it occurs. For change to happen, it will involve all of us working together and in tandem. As healthcare professionals coping with violence, the change and the resolve must start with us every day when we go to work.

As medical professionals we reject violence as ‘just part of the job’ and we will be part of the solution!

We call upon the State and Health Administrators,, the Police and Judiciary to take due cognisance before it is too late.

We also like to point out that two of the major Judgements by the Honourable Supreme Court, firstly, Civil Appellate Jurisdiction: Civil Appeal No. 3541 of 2002, Martin F D’Souza….Appelant Vs Mohd. Ishfaq….Respondent, Judgement: Markandey Katju, J; New Delhi, February 17, 2009, which clearly indicates that doctors cannot be charged and arrested for Medical Negligence without Prima Facie evidence. The Honb’le Judge also warned the police officials not to harasse or arrest doctors, contravention of which will make the policemen themselves having to face legal action. Secondly, the Jacob Mathew vs State of Punjab & Anr, where he clearly states, “ If the hands be trembling with the dangling fear of facing a criminal prosecution in the event of failure for whatever reason - whether attributable to himself or not, neither can a surgeon successfully wield his life-saving scalpel to perform an essential surgery, nor can a physician successfully administer the life-saving dose of medicine. Discretion being the better part of valour, a medical professional would feel better advised to leave a terminal patient to his own fate in the case of emergency where the chance of success may be 10% (or so), rather than taking the risk of making a last ditch effort towards saving the subject and facing a criminal prosecution if his effort fails. Such timidity forced upon a doctor would be a disservice to society”.
With the above situations in mind, we call upon all Stake holders, the State and Union Government, the Police and Administrative services, The Medical Council of India and the State Medical Council to show pro-activeness in dealing with situation.
We also call upon the Central IMA to take into account the prevailing situation in West Bengal – We look forward to your able leadership and the upcoming IMA Action Committee Meeting.

Long Live Doctors Patients Unity.


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Chief Minister of West Bengal

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