Ahmedabad: Non-essential health services were affected in Gujarat on Monday as nearly 28,000 doctors boycotted work in response to their apex body IMA's strike call following attack on two medical practitioners in West Bengal, an official said.
Junior doctors and interns held protests in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Jamnagar and other major towns of the state and did not report to work in the Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) of various government and private hospitals, he said.
Around 28,000 doctors across the state, including 9,000 in Ahmedabad, have joined the 24-hour strike, an official from IMA's Gujarat chapter said.
While the OPD services in all major government-run hospitals were hit to some extent, the emergency and indoor medical services were not affected, another official said.
Some hospitals made arrangements to not let patients suffer due to the strike, said an official at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, which is the biggest state-run medical facility in Gujarat.
"No patient has been turned back at the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. Though junior doctors are on strike, all the senior doctors are on duty and taking care of patients, the hospital's superintendent M M Prabhakar said.
"Around 4,000 OPD patients have already been attended since morning. Resident Doctors are also on duty in the emergency wards and also attending to indoor patients," he said.
Meanwhile, junior doctors and medical students staged protests outside all the major government-run hospitals in the state, demanding a strict law to prevent attacks on doctors by family members of patients.
"We demand a strict law to punish those who attack doctors. What happened in West Bengal is not new. It's been happening since long," said Shravan Dave, a junior doctor from Rajkot.
"We want the government to formulate a central law to make such offences non-bailable with a sentence of at least seven years' imprisonment. Doctors must get protection from all kinds of violence," he added.
Junior doctors in West Bengal are on strike since June 11 after two of their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured allegedly by relatives of a patient who died at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.
In a show of solidarity, medical practitioners across the country have decided not to work, leaving patients in the lurch.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.