Preventing violence: on protection to
doctors (The Hindu)
Mains Paper 2 : Heath
Prelims level : IMA
Mains level : Healthcare system in India
- A law to protect doctors is good, and a health-care upgrade is essential
- The attack on a junior doctor on June 10 over the death of a patient had
sparked the agitation, which spread to other parts of the country when it
appeared that the State government was reluctant to negotiate with the
- Now that Ms. Banerjee has reached out to young doctors and conceded that
their demands are genuine, the government, in West Bengal and elsewhere,
must focus on addressing the deficiencies afflicting the health-care system
as a whole.
Reasons behind violence against doctors
- Reprisal attacks on doctors by agitated relatives of patients who die
during treatment are known to happen.
- Such violence is invariably the result of systemic problems that
adversely affect optimal attention to patients, such as infrastructural and
- It is apparent that doctors work in stressful environments, sometimes
under political pressure with regard to admissions.
Laws existing in several states
- Several States have enacted laws to protect doctors and other
health-care personnel from violence.
- Last week, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan wrote to State
governments highlighting the need for stringent action against anyone who
- He asked States that do not have a law to protect doctors against
violence to enact one, and circulated a 2017 draft of a law that envisaged
imprisonment besides recovery of compensation from perpetrators for loss or
damage to property.
Is such a law really effective?
- Ironically, West Bengal, the epicentre of a strike that involved nearly
the entire medical fraternity across the country, has such a law too.
- Like the law in most other States, the West Bengal Act provides for a
three-year prison term and a fine, which could go up to ₹50,000, to anyone
indulging in violence against any “medicare service person”, which covers
doctors, nurses, medical and nursing students and paramedical staff.
- The offence is cognisable and non-bailable.
- It also provides for recovery of compensation for loss.
- Many other States have similar laws, with the one in Tamil Nadu
providing for a prison term that could go up to 10 years.
- It is clear that having this law did not prevent the incident that
sparked the latest agitation.
- There are no figures available on how many times the medical service
person protection law has been invoked.
- In any case, causing simple or grievous injuries to anyone is a criminal
offence under the Indian Penal Code.
- Treating the issue as a law and order problem is just one way.
- The real solution may lie in improving health infrastructure,
counselling patients about possible adverse treatment outcomes, and
providing basic security in medical institutions.
Q.1) Feni Bridge is being developed as a corridor for trade and commerce
between India and which of the following countries?
Q.1) A law to protect doctors is good, and a health-care upgrade is