Concerned over attacks on doctors at State-run hospitals by family members of patients, the Alternative People’s Health Initiative (APHI), a forum of doctors and other health workers, came out with several suggestions to curb such attacks on them. Representatives of eight State-run hospitals are part of the APHI. The development assumes significance with the Trinamool Congress government trying to streamline practices of private hospitals in the State. On March 3, the Assembly passed the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill, 2017, bringing the functioning of private hospitals under greater government scrutiny.“In the month of March alone, two cases have come in the public domain where two doctors working in the State-run SSKM (Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial Hospital) and R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital were assaulted,” APHI’s convener Baishali Biswas told The Hindu.According to the APHI, such assaults are mostly carried out by relatives of patients who accuse the doctors of negligence. The organisation has recently come out with an eight-point proposal to curb such attacks on doctors.Referral systemOne of the key suggestions in the proposal is the setting up of a centralised referral system, which will have updated information regarding the availability of beds and other facilities at government-run hospitals in the State. Pointing out that there is a tendency to refer patients to super-speciality hospitals from primary rural health centres, representatives of the APHI said that the related information should be accessible to both doctors and patients. “The referral system should be overhauled. Initiative has to taken to ensure that patients get proper treatment even if they are referred to district or block hospitals instead of super-speciality hospitals,” the proposal stated.The APHI argued that the “absence of standard operating procedure”, especially with regard to emergency cases, leads to confusion and chaos among both doctors and family members of patients. They also said that the in order to boost the government healthcare system, the vacant posts in hospitals have to be filled urgently.APHI will discuss the impact of legislation on State-run doctors at a convention to be held on April 19.