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Mansukh Madvaiya : Existing laws have provisions to deal with Violence against Doctors

Tharoor : Demands new law exclusively to deal with violence against healthcare professionals

New Delhi: Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that existing laws have provisions to protect doctors from violence amid incidents of doctors being attacked while carrying out their duties. Meanwhile Senior Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor demanded a legislation to protect healthcare professionals and workers from violence at the workplace.

In the Lok Sabha question hour on Friday, Tharoor demanded that the Union health minister bring laws for the protection of doctors against violence faced during their duty, and claimed that minister had previously failed to respond to his request to do so. He highlighted statistics regarding the high levels of violence faced by doctors and the stress caused by this. Tharoor also demanded that victims of such violence be provided “financial and legal support” while mentioning the alleged murder of a Kerala doctor who died last year while treating a patient.

Tharoor claimed that he had submitted a Private Members’ Bill for the protection of doctors, but was rejected by the health minister on the basis that “such legislation could not be created for any particular protection, as it would cause members of other professions, such as chartered accountants, to demand similar provisions”. “Doctors are working on life and death matters. They are working with patients, they are saving lives. Risking their own should not be part of their profession. I urge the government to reconsider this stand and kindly introduce legislation that will ‘actually’ protect doctors and other healthcare professionals in the workplace and at the same time, produce some financial or legal support to the professionals who become victims of violence while performing their duties at the central level,” he said. In May 2023, 23-year-old Dr Vandana Das was allegedly stabbed to death by a patient at Kottarakkara Taluk Hospital. The murder sparked outrage, particularly among healthcare professionals, who demanded stringent legal action against those committing such acts of violence against doctors and other healthcare workers.Tharoor emphasised that the government had responsibilities towards healthcare professionals and urged the health minister to “change his policy” regarding the legislation.

Responding to Tharoor’s query, Union health and family welfare minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that the existing laws have sufficient provisions to protect doctors from violence. The health ministry made provisions during COVID, according to which legal actions under the Indian Penal Code would be taken against the people committing an act of violence against any doctor, said Mandaviya. Mandaviya said that doctors are considered gods in this country and their protection is important.