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Hospitals in Henan province set up independent police service rooms

2014-08-04 14:54 CNTV Web Editor: Li Yan

In central China's Henan province, 90% of hospitals have now set up independent police service rooms to protect doctors and nurses from attacks by patients' relatives, outraged over the cost and quality of care.

Ms. Zhang has become frustrated at the hospital system, citing long overnight waits and the need to pay hundreds of yuan to scalpers for the registration slips required to consult with hospital specialists.

Now, she has a place where she can pour out her feelings-- an independent police service room at the No. 1 Affiliated Hospital of Henan Traditional Chinese Medicine College. The office has been set up to mediate disputes between the hospital and patients, and is one of the first established in Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan province.

"Cases like Ms. Zhang's are just the small ones. Last month, a patient who was dissatisfied with his medical treatment grabbed all his relatives to shout and block the gate of the hospital. It took us a whole day to calm them down and solve the problem," Duan Ying, police officer with Zhengzhou Police Bureau, said.

This May, more than 90% of hospitals in Henan province have set up independent police service rooms.

The rooms are stocked with alarm buttons, helmets, shields, anti-stab vests, and camera surveillance equipment. Police officers, together with security guards in the hospital, are on hand to keep the order when emotions run high between doctors and patients. Additionally, the mediators are responsible for guiding patients to safeguard their rights in a rational manner.

"Thanks to the independent police service room, the doctors and nurses' safety has been more fully guaranteed. But it's hard to say it will completely solve the increasing disputes between the doctors and patients. And there are many profiteers who focus on medical disputes. They're really annoying and cannot be tolerated. The police service room will help reduce that number," Zhu Mingjun, director of No. 1 Affiliated Hospital, Henan Tcm College, said.

"We feel a lot safer now. It provides an open platform for us to communicate with the patients, and it helps us solve medical disputes. Also, there's been less theft," Ma Suping, doctor of No. 1 Affiliated Hospital, Henan Tcm College, said.

Medical professionals across China are increasingly becoming victims of physical violence at the hands of disgruntled patients. Last October, a man unhappy with the results of an operation on his nose stabbed a doctor to death and wounded two others in Wenling city in the wealthy eastern province of Zhejiang. Similar cases have happened elsewhere.

The violence has prompted doctors everywhere to demand more security. But many say that without significant health care changes to tackle the causes of conflict, it's hard to improve safety conditions.

Medical disputes are a universal problem across China. And there is no specific solution. Experts say that only a thorough overhaul of the country's medical system will reduce hospital violence.

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