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Mumbai: Doctors resist election duty summons over patient care

Updated on: 28 March,2024 07:25 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Eshan Kalyanikar |

The unprecedented order sparks concern among city hospitals, before being rolled back

Mumbai: Doctors resist election duty summons over patient care

More than 1,000 workers from hospitals are called for election duty

For the first time in the history doctors of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and JJ hospital have been summoned for election duty, before the order was rolled back for the BMC doctors. More than 500 doctors were assigned to election duty by the suburban district collector of Mumbai. Including all categories such as clerical staff and nurses, there are more than 1,000 essential service workers from the city hospitals on election duty.

This led to panic among doctors, before the BMC withdrew the order following the uproar. “We cannot refuse treatment to anyone, come what may and we won’t. We are going to oppose this. We have been asked to send around 200 doctors and 600 nurses. That is most of the nursing staff,” said a senior doctor of a BMC-run hospital. The order from the suburban collector contradicts Election Commission of India rules as the latter exempts doctors from election duty.

A couple of months ago, clerks were called in for training from across these hospitals. “That was about 200 just from one hospital. Now think of the magnitude, by which administration work is impacted. These are essential services,” the senior doctor said.

The vacancies of doctors are around 54 per cent of a total strength of 1,546 scheduled posts in BMC hospitals. At another BMC-run hospital, one of the senior doctors called for duty and said, “If we do not oppose this now, we will also be asked to go for assembly elections and this will happen every time.” The Dean of that hospital in the city said, “Who will be responsible for any mishap due to a shortage of staff.”

Why doctors asked to do this

A BMC top official said, “This will hamper services but the election is sacrosanct.” 

He added that BMC will try to convince the election commission but it is not in their hands. 

At press time orders werecancelled by the suburban collector only for BMC doctors, nurses and other emergency services. Not for clerical staff.

No. of doctors summoned for election duty

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