On April 28, 2020 evening the delegation of doctors met the Chief Minister, West Bengal. West Bengal Doctors Forum along with other Constituents of Joint Platform of Doctors (AHSD, DOPA, HSA and Shramajibi Swasthya Udyog), SDF, MSC and IMA a participated in the meeting. The Chief Secretary, the Health Secretary, Home Secretary, the DME and DHS were present in the meeting.
The Chief Minister emphatically assured
- The doctors about the steady supplies of PPE, Masks, Sanitisers and others.
- ETO sterilization of reusable PPE as per guidelines were being organized and have started at few places too.
- Transportation (between places of work and home) and accommodation of HCWs, specially those in Govt. Service, were having teething problems and the issue would be specifically handled by the Chief Secretary himself.
- Special financial package for Covid postive HCWs, Special protection of SRs and JRs, Separate treatment and intensive diagnosis facilities (Test, Test and more Tests, even for asymptomatic contact HCWs) and duty hours of the doctors were also mentioned.
- Doctors had been assured of full support by the Administration. The Chief Secretary as per instruction by the CM will look into the matter actively.
- Doctors reiterated that utmost care should be taken for all medical staff and that wasthe only way to increase their moral and boost the confidence. It was unanimously agreed upon by all concerned.
- CM on being suggested assured that NGOs, self help groups would be suitably utilised for dissemination of messages, preparation of masks and prevention of spread of rumors by a section of people.
- As per doctors’ suggestion it was also accepted that a research institute would be formed for study of different issues related to epidemic diseases.
- It was also assured by her that epidemiologist, virologists and preventive medicine specialists would be engaged for effective control and management of disease.
- She instructed that no positive patient should be harassed for want of bed. Phone no. of two officers responsible for arrangement of admission would be shared so that doctors could accordingly make arrangements.
- The issue of Death Audit Committee had been appropriately raised by all and it was agreed that Death Certificate will be issued as per ICMR guidelines using ICD codes.
- All the organisations of doctors would continue to participate in long fight against CORONA and expected same reciprocity from the Government.
- The proposal that no Health Care Workers in Private Health Care settings should loose jobs was appreciated by the CM and she assured that she would request the private owners to refrain from any retrenchment.
- It was also assured that all doctors who would be operating the private clinics would have options to procure PPEs at Govt. rates from appropriate places all over the state e.g. fair price shops.
The Joint Platform of Doctors expressed satisfaction that the Chief Minister heard its long standing grievances which it had been pursuing for last one and a half months. It also requested that there should be more such meetings in future. The CM assured that all grievances of doctors should be henceforth directly sent to her. She thanked and requested doctors to continue their fight against diseases. The meeting ended with vote of thanks to the chair.
The WBDF leadership stated that they have always been of principled views that safety, security and dignity of the medical community is of paramount importance and concern and they will continue to keep all channels of communication open at all times and expect all concerned to reciprocate.
They expected that the assurances given would be realised at the earliest. As there is a significant number of HCWs already testing positive, with two senior members of the fraternity passing away and several others in quarantine, they shuddered to think of a situation where there would be dearth of manpower to cope up with the increasing case loads.