Medical services were affected in Rajasthan on Monday as doctors in government and private hospitals boycotted work for 24 hours on the call of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) for a nationwide strike to express solidarity with agitating doctors in West Bengal.
Patients faced the brunt as out-patient departments (OPD) remained closed in both government and private hospitals and scheduled surgeries were postponed.
However, emergency services were available.
The health department has directed all chief medical and health officers and principal medical officers to ensure that health services are not affected.
"Unfortunate incident had occurred in West Bengal. It should not happen with those treating patients. Both common people and doctors should deal with each other in a practical way so that such incidents do not occur. It affects the system and patients suffer," Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said.
Junior doctors in West Bengal are protesting against an assault on two of their colleagues at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata allegedly by the family members of a patient who died last week.
Sharma said that alternative mechanism has been adopted so that the patients do not suffer. The state has engaged AYUSH doctors, nursing employees and doctors on probation to attend to patients.
"Incidents of violence against doctors often occur everywhere, including in Rajasthan. We demand the government to form special security forces in hospitals for the security of doctors," said Ajay Chaudhary, president of All Rajasthan In-Service Doctors' Association (ARISDA), a body of government doctors posted in rural areas and district hospitals.
The IMA's Rajasthan unit vice president Narendra Khippal said, "Doctors are observing black day. Resident doctors at government hospitals have supported the protest.