Representative photo: Reuters
NEW DELHI: Warning the states and Union territories that any attack on doctors and medical staff could lower their morale and adversely affect the healthcare response system, the home ministry on Saturday said institutional FIRs should be filed against those who threaten or assault healthcare professionals.
“It has become imperative that strict action be taken against those who assault healthcare professionals. Institutional FIRs should be registered against assaulters and such cases should be fast-tracked. You may also like to invoke provisions of the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020, where applicable,” home secretary Ajay Bhalla said in a letter sent to all state chief secretaries and UT administrators.
Similar advisories had gone to the states/UTs earlier on April 27 and June 9, suggesting various remedial measures to check recurrence of such incidents against healthcare professionals, ensuring adequate security at healthcare facilities including Covid-19 designated hospitals. For the hospitals, the suggestions included controlled and restricted access to the premises; facilitation centers at the entry point to provide information as well as sharing of authenticated information regarding medical resources with the public through website, helpline, etc; deployment of quick response police teams at vulnerable locations with effective communication/ security gadgets; effective local-level medical intervention along with well-equipped centralized control room for monitoring and quick response, etc.
Bhalla said a close watch may be kept on any objectionable content in social media which may exacerbate such situations. “Concerted efforts should be made through posters in hospitals, social media, etc. to emphasize the valuable contribution being made by doctors and other healthcare personnel in the fight against Covid-19,” he suggested while requesting the states/UTs to take measures to secure healthcare professionals on priority and proactively engage with members of the medical fraternity to assuage their concerns.