Police asked to escort absent doctors to work, medical community outraged

(This story originally appeared in on Mar 12, 2018)NEW DELHI: Police in Nadia district’s Kaligunj block were last week instructed to escort absent doctors from their homes to the health centre, a move that has fueled outrage in the area’s medical community, which has termed the action “administrative violence”.The incident took place when a primary healthcare unit called ‘Meera’ – which has two doctors-in-charge – became doctorless. One of them, Dr Biswajit Brahma, was on leave due to sudden illness. The other, Dr Palash Biswas, was on leave as he was involved in a major accident.Subsequently, six doctors from nearby health centres and village hospitals – two from Kaliagunj Village Hospital and four from Panighat and Devgram health centres – were sent on deputation.Then on Tuesday, block health officer Timir Kanti Bhadra instructed the police to forcefully bring the doctors to the centre if they don’t turn up.The news spread like wildfire, with the doctors openly voicing their anger. Finally, the order was withdrawn.The health administration department of Nadia is trying to play down the incident, calling it “a mere clerical mistake”. But the doctors are not convinced.”When the doctor-patient relationship is getting degraded everyday, this kind of behaviour from the administration is practically autocratic in nature. This can never be accepted,” said the enraged doctors.”This is clearly an example of administrative violence. If a doctor remains absent then how can one involve police to bring the doctors to duty? We have submitted a letter of protest to the state health ministry,” said Dr Sajal Biswas, general secretary of the service doctors’ forum.Dr Gautam Mukherjee, the President of the Association of Health Services Doctors, is also extremely unhappy about the situation.Though state health officer Ajoy Chakraborty is stunned, he refuses to accept the incident as “administrative violence”. Bhadra has clarified that he never intended to instruct the police to arrest absent doctors, and the whole incident was due to a clerical mistake.Read this story in Bengali

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