Doctors at JJ Hospital feel insecure about their safety after a notice circulated that Maharashtra Security Forces (MSF) would withdraw their services from February 9. As of Friday, all 56 security personnel were still on duty but are expected to stop work from Saturday.

A senior resident doctor at the hospital said, “Attacks on doctors are very common in government hospitals. If something happens in light of this, who will be responsible?” The withdrawal is due to non-payment of Rs 39 crore by the state government. Dr Pallavi Saple, dean of the hospital, said, “This is not just happening at JJ but across all medical college hospitals. The payments have been cleared from our end.”

The hospital has 60-odd internal security guards who will work extra hours if the withdrawal happens as planned. “They will be compensated accordingly. MSF is an additional security that we require,” Dr. Saple said. She added that alternative arrangements will be made in the absence of the MSF after consulting with higher authorities.

Medical Education Department’s Principal Secretary Dinesh Waghmare said, “We have been informed that the security personnel will be withdrawn only if there is no resolution in their meeting scheduled with Medical Education Minister Hasan Mushrif.” However, Dr Saple said the hospital administration was verbally informed by MSF that the withdrawal would happen as planned. Meanwhile, Waghmare said there is a backup plan in place in case of withdrawal but could not provide further details.

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