Shang­hai to launch me­di­a­tion sys­tem for med­i­cal dis­putes

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By WANG HONGYI in Shang­hai wanghongyi@chi­

Shang­hai will in­tro­duce a di­rec­tive next month to help ease the in­creas­ingly acute re­la­tion­ship be­tween pa­tients and doc­tors, which has re­sulted in death or in­jury to med­i­cal staff in re­cent cases.

“The rule was for­mu­lated to pre­vent and set­tle doc­tor­pa­tient dis­putes, which have be­come a big prob­lem in so­ci­ety. It will help pro­tect both par­ties’ le­gal rights and main­tain or­der in med­i­cal in­sti­tutes,” said Liu Ping, deputy di­rec­tor of the le­gal depart­ment of the mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment.

The Shang­hai Med­i­cal Dis­pute Preven­tion and Me­di­a­tion Mea­sures fea­ture a me­di­a­tion mech­a­nism, in which rel­e­vant par­ties can ap­ply to a me­di­a­tion com­mit­tee. Pub­lic med­i­cal in­sti­tutes must co­op­er­ate with the me­di­a­tion work even if pa­tients ap­ply for it uni­lat­er­ally.

Mean­while, med­i­cal in­sti­tutes should in­form pa­tients to seek me­di­a­tion when com­pen­sa­tion ex­ceeds 30,000 yuan ($4,900).

To im­prove pa­tients’ trust in the new pro­ce­dure, an ad­vi­sory team has been es­tab­lished to pro­vide pro­fes­sional con­sul­ta­tion for med­i­cal dis­putes.

So far, the team has 922 ex­perts from the fields of med­i­cal sci­ence, law, foren­sic medicine, psy­chol­ogy and other ar­eas.

“In the past, some pa­tients ques­tioned the jus­tice of in­ves­ti­ga­tion work be­cause many ex­perts in charge were from the med­i­cal sys­tem, who might be par­tial. But now, the ex­perts have var­i­ous back­grounds in dif­fer­ent fields. This will help build cred­i­bil­ity,” said Zhao Yong, deputy di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

Be­sides, ex­perts who may share an in­ter­est with ei­ther of the par­ties in a dis­pute should with­draw, ac­cord­ing to the rule.

In re­cent years, a num­ber of med­i­cal dis­putes that have es­ca­lated into at­tacks on med­i­cal staff mem­bers have been re­ported across the coun­try.

The lat­est hap­pened in Yix­ian, a county in He­bei prov­ince, on Tues­day when a sur­geon’s throat was cut by a pa­tient who was re­port­edly un­sat­is­fied with his med­i­cal treat­ment.

The day be­fore, a 45-yearold doc­tor in an ear, nose and throat depart­ment at a hospi­tal in Qiqi­har, Hei­longjiang prov­ince, was beaten to death by a young pa­tient. The 19-year-old broke into the doc­tor’s of­fice and hit him on the head with a steel pipe.

Ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese Med­i­cal Doc­tor As­so­ci­a­tion, the coun­try has seen 16 vi­o­lent at­tacks on med­i­cal staff with many re­sult­ing in death and se­ri­ous in­jury. Surgery and emer­gency rooms are the main places for at­tacks.

The in­creased vi­o­lence has drawn wide­spread at­ten­tion from the pub­lic, who have called for more ef­fec­tive so­lu­tions.

Since 2006 Shang­hai has been ex­plor­ing ways to set­tle dis­putes, car­ry­ing out pi­lot me­di­a­tion projects in some districts. Such tri­als have been ex­panded in the city from 2011, with some pos­i­tive re­sults.

Ac­cord­ing to the mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment, 6,784 med­i­cal dis­pute cases were re­ceived by the people’s me­di­a­tion com­mit­tee from Au­gust 2011 to 2013. Nearly 82 per­cent were set­tled through the pro­ce­dure, in­volv­ing 298 mil­lion yuan.

In 2013 alone, the com­mit­tee re­ceived more than 3,000 cases, while be­fore 2011, fewer than 1,000 cases were re­ceived each year, a govern­ment of­fi­cial said.

“The me­di­a­tion mech­a­nism has seen some good re­sults, but more work should be done, es­pe­cially to im­prove the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the me­di­a­tors and to stan­dard­ize the me­di­a­tion pro­gram,” said Li Heping, deputy di­rec­tor of Shang­hai Med­i­cal Dis­pute Me­di­a­tion Work Of­fice.

“Med­i­cal dis­putes in­volve pro­fes­sional judg­ment in the fields of medicine and law and are highly com­pli­cated. In this re­gard, the me­di­a­tors should be more pro­fes­sional,” said Li.

To date, the city has 123 med­i­cal me­di­a­tors, and of these, 30 per­cent have a med­i­cal back­ground and 50 per­cent have a le­gal back­ground.

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