AIIMS RDA Writes to PM Over 'Backlash' Against Doctors for 'Raising Genuine Concerns'

“Instead of appreciating their efforts towards welfare of their peers and patients, they (doctors) have received a harsh backlash,” the letter states.

Mumbai: With instances of health care workers contracting COVID- 19 in Delhi increasing, doctors’ associations at different hospitals have begun to speak up of the precarious conditions they work in.

The Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the alleged targeting of the healthcare professionals for raising concerns relating to unavailability of personal protective equipment (PPE), COVID-19 testing kits and quarantine facilities in the hospital.

The RDA has issued a statement on social media and has said that their concerns and criticism should be taken constructively. “Instead of appreciating their efforts towards welfare of their peers and patients, they (doctors) have received a harsh backlash,” the letter states.

The letter signed by the AIIMS RDA president Adarsh Pratap Singh and general secretary Srinivas Rajkumar T, and junior representative Pawan Sinhamar states, “This is to bring to your notice that over the last few days, our frontline healthcare workers- doctors, nurses and other support staff- had come forward with their problems and issues related to availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), COVID testing kits and quarantine facilities, on social media. The officials should view these inputs constructively.”

The RDA urged the government to create a “healthy space for debate and discussion to aid healthcare workers”. “All punishments are to be withdrawn and their honour restored,” the letter said.

In Delhi alone, at least 24 health care workers — doctors, nurses, sanitation staff — have tested positive of COVID-19. As of April 6, Delhi has reported 503 cases and seven persons have died due to COVID-19 infection in the capital.

Two days ago, at the central-government run Safdarjung hospital, resident doctors had put out an appeal to NGOs to help with PPE kits and masks.

“We are in dire need for the following: PPE kits – 50,000. N95 masks – 50,000. Triple-layer masks – 300,000. Hand sanitisers (500 ml bottles) – 10,000. Kindle donates the above-mentioned equipment and consumables in as much amount as feasible,” the association’s letter, which was widely circulated on social media, had stated.

Also read: Rainwear, Cloth Masks: Across India, Doctors, Nurses Grow Restive in Absence of Basic Protective Gear

The hospital administration, according to the PTI report, however, has denied the claim and said that there was no immediate shortage faced. Any help, they stated, would be to tackle a long battle ahead.

Safdarjung RDA president Dr Manish told PTI, “It (notice) was in the context of non-profit organisations that had shown interest in donating protective gear and medical equipment. But it has come to our notice that many people have misinterpreted the nature of our notice and have falsely attached bank account numbers asking for donation.”

“Safdarjung Hospital, hereby, clarifies that we never asked for money in any form and instead are only willing to accept donation of medical equipment through proper administrative channel via the office of Medical Superintendent, VMMC and Safdarjung Hospital,” he added.

“At present, there is no shortage of medical equipment in Safdarjung Hospital, but the future course of this pandemic still remains uncertain and therefore, requires us to be proactive in our preparedness for the same,” Dr Manish said, requesting people not to fall prey to any scam involving donations.