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Current Affairs

Government constitutes committee to assess law to protect doctors

Date: 10 July 2019 Tags: Commissions & Committees

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare constituted 10 members inter-ministerial committee for assessing various aspects of bringing out Central law against attack on-duty doctors and medical establishments.  In June 2019, the draft Protection of Medical Service Persons and Medical Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss of Property) Act, 2017, which proposes a 10-year jail term and Rs 5 lakh fine for violence against doctors, was submitted to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.

Composition of committee: It includes officials from health, home and law ministries, medical superintendents of AIIMS, RML Hospital, representatives of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Medical Council of India, Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA), Indian Medical Association (IMA), etc.

Significance: Formation of the committee opens doors for discussion on matters of violence against doctors. It will help improve communication between doctors and the government.

Background

There is no government data on assault on doctors but recent study by IMA revealed that 72% of its 3.25 lakh member doctors have experienced verbal or physical assault while on duty. Most recently, in June 2019, two junior doctors of NRS Medical College in Kolkata (West Bengal) were critically injured in mob attack following death of an 80-year old patient during treatment. This had led to strikes called by their protesting colleagues and had triggered nationwide doctors agitations in several other states.