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15 April 2017 Question Bank


15th APRIL 2017 


(1 Question)

Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.

Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers.


1.      There have been numerous media reports of instances of violence against doctors and health-care institutions across India. Why is it so? What steps need to be taken to avert such instances?


Violence against doctors and health-care institutions:

  • There have been numerous media reports of instances of violence against doctors and health-care institutions across India.
  • In most cases, the proximate cause is the death of a patient.
  • All reports suggest that most of these patients could not have been saved with the infrastructure available in the institution, yet their deaths have been seen as a case of neglect by medical personnel.
  • Doctors have responded to these attacks with anger and anguish, by striking work, demanding more security and even taking to social media with messages about how the profession is seen as an easy target.
  • It is important to reflect on how the medical profession — always held in respect in our society — has come to such a sorry pass where health-care workers need protection from the very people they are meant to take care of.
  • The World Health Organisation published guidelines on handling workplace violence in 2002. However, the incidence and intensity of violence against medical professionals in India is on the rise.

Why is it so?

  • It appears that these attacks are symptomatic of a larger malaise, manifested in a general increase in violence as a method of demonstrating power, loss of faith in institutions, anger against perceived marginalisation, and lack of understanding of science and society.
  • It has become accepted and legitimised to use violence as a method of expressing disagreement. The present health-care system in India has inequity built in. The tremendous technological advances in medicine are not available to the majority in India.
  • Increasing privatisation, corporatisation and commercialisation of medical care have ensured that many procedures cannot be accessed by the general public.
  • There is also a failure to establish and propagate a good understanding of modern science in India. Such understanding would encompass the knowledge that although medicine in the modern world has greatly improved the chances of survival in many serious conditions, there are also many situations in which no intervention will succeed.

Steps that need to be taken:

  • An immediate step is to ensure exemplary action against violence as a means of settling issues. The state must impose the rule of law quickly and fairly.
  • More long-term measures require vastly improved health infrastructure, fewer patients per doctor in line with international norms.
  • Greater accountability is needed, not only from doctors but from all sections of society.
  • Doctors should participate in spreading understanding of science and society.
  • Peoples’ committees in hospitals can be set up.
  • There must be a constant audit of the working hours of medical personnel and the fatigued doctor should not be left in the front line to deal with an emotionally charged public.
  • Social workers in crucial departments such as accident and emergency wards to handle anxious crowds will certainly reduce the stress of already overburdened postgraduates and house surgeons.
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