City hospitals take steps to protect women docs, nurses

Dr Maya Tulpule still shudders when she recalls her experience as a resident doctor on night duty at a government medical college. "There was a seriously ill patient that I had to treat during the night and I decided to wait in the ladies room. There were tales about how some ward boys used to drink at night on the campus and misbehave. Believe me I was scared as the door did not have a latch. I hope there has been a drastic change in the situation 20 years later," Tulpule, president of the city unit of Indian Medical Association (IMA), said.

Tulpule who set up her own five-bed Sahwaas Hospital at Kothrud preferred to employ women (be it nurses or class IV staff) and ensures that they reach home safely. "In my presidential address that will be circulated to 4,000 IMA member doctors, I have made it a point to refer to the guidelines of the Vishaka committee (against sexual harassment) and directed hospitals/clinics who employ more than 10 workers to set up their internal complaint committee. In 2014, Women's Day in March will be observed in a big way by the IMA," Tulpule said.

At the 550-bed Ruby Hall Clinic, one of the largest private hospitals in the city, Code Khatra or Code Yellow, an alert system, has been devised that staffers can utilise in case of any perceived threats. Bomi Bhote, CEO of Ruby Hall Clinic, says that 70 per cent of the staff are women and medical director Dr Sujata Malik who heads the a 'Prevention of Harassment' committee admitted that they often receive complaints.

They are not in the nature of molestation. Basically there are complaints based on what has been perceived as undesired or unwanted response from the other person. We have reprimanded the concerned staffers and there is awareness that any kind of harassment will be dealt with. There are 800 nurses out of a staff of 2,500 and care is taken that no single nurse is isolated during duty hours. Dr Manisha Bobade, medical director at Jehangir Hospital, said a grievance committee was set up, which included doctors and medical social workers. It shows that staffers are aware that action will be taken against the errant persons.

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