Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey announced that the government was framing rules for the Bihar Medical Service Institution and Person Protection Act (provides legal shield to doctors against vandalism), a move considered an attempt to pacify doctors who have time and again raised questions on their security at respective workplaces after numerous incidents of assaults on them by attendants of patients. Pandey, while speaking in the general body meeting of the Bihar Health Services Association (BHSA) at Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) on Sunday, said the government had initiated the process of framing rules for the Act. Pandey also warned bureaucrats not to misbehave with doctors, another concern expressed by the doctors' community earlier.
The Bihar Medical Service Institution and Person Protection Act has non-bailable provision for criminals who assault doctors and vandalise medical institutions. It also incorporates the provision of making an attack on doctors a cognisable offence and those indulging in vandalism against doctors and nursing homes have to pay a certain amount of money for covering up the damage caused during the protest. "We are not going to compromise with doctors' security at any cost. As part of the initiative, we are framing rules for the Bihar Medical Service Institution and Person Protection Act for the better implementation of the Act. Liability will be fixed on people in the rules," he said. The health minister added that his department was appointing retired doctors (above 65 years) to meet the doctors' crisis in state-run hospitals.
He, however, said the government was also going to take initiative for regular appointment of doctors to address the crisis in a more effective way. Earlier BHSA general secretary Dr Ranjit Kumar had pointed out in his speech the doctors' crisis in health facilities while mentioning about primary health centres being run with one or two doctors. He also sought the formation of special empowered committee for looking after the recruitment of doctors on the lines of other states. Earlier in the programme, the general body approved the amended constitution of the health association. "As per the amendment, all members will now have the right to vote through ballot paper. The elections will be held at the district-level apart from headquarter elections. The election for the seven posts at the headquarter will be held through direct voting of all district members. The BHSA elections will be held on the first Sunday of October," added Ranjit. The chairman of the election committee of BHSA, Dr Sushil Kumar Singh, and other BHSA officials were also present in the general body meeting. – Telegraph India