With the country witnessing the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, doctors, who have been waging a long-drawn battle against the disease along with other healthcare workers for more than a year, find themselves up against the VIP culture prevalent in government hospitals and have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take measures to rein in the same.
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister, Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA), which is at the forefront of waging the fight against VIP culture, alleged that priority has been given to politicians and their party workers who have actually held rallies and increased the spread of the virus. The association claimed that central government hospitals have VIP counters for testing politicians and party workers. Unfortunately, there are no separate counters for doctors, stated the association. “Risking their own lives, doctors are in the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. But in return, we are made to stand in long queues and no bed or ICU is available for us when tested positive,” said Dr Manish Jangra, RML Resident and Founder FAIMA.
The Indian Medical Association, the largest body of allopathic medical practitioners in the country, has also come out against VIP culture in government hospitals. “The working doctors are anguished at the undue stress caused due to the VIP culture and the preference being awarded to politicians, bureaucrats, party workers and the decreasing morale of many frontline workers. During the first wave, 756 of our doctors lost their lives in the fight against corona and they are yet to be recognized as warriors and honoured by the government,” stated IMA. The association has also sought the intervention of the Prime Minister to streamline this at the earliest and prevent the burnout phenomenon percolating among the frontline workers and restore their morale.
Bypassing the normal working system
Dr G S Grewal, President, Delhi Medical Association, stated that when the staff is working under difficult circumstances, some people, mostly politicians, bureaucrats and political party workers, forcibly try and wield their voice, political or muscle power to bypass the normal working system, damaging the fabric of the organisation. He termed it as an insult to the dedication of the staff. “Every patient is a VIP for the doctor. But when some assume that they deserve more than others not because of the severity of their disease but because of their own self-created status, it disturbs the working system,” said Dr Grewal. He added that even though it’s an ongoing issue, in the prevailing situation, it is causing great hardship and major disturbance in the working of the staff.
Resident doctors at various government hospitals across the country have also come out against the VIP culture and sought the immediate intervention of the Prime Minister to end the same.
The Resident Doctors’ Association of AIIMS Bhubaneswar alleged that all life support or ICU facilities are being provided for VIPs, politicians and their party workers, some of which are unnecessary and these cases can be treated with isolation only.
FAIMA further alleged that even as VIP counters are available for COVID testing, the majority of the politicians summon doctors to their residences without legal order from the medical superintendent. The association added that doctors are being summoned by politicians informally and it further reduces and wastes the limited manpower available.
AIIMS Bhubaneswar RDA also stated that the summoning of residents’ doctors to the residents has been causing a lot of mental agony for the doctors. It also reduces their efficiency in their workplaces, said the association.