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August 29, 2012

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Medical mediation required

PATIENTS who demand more than 30,000 yuan (US$4,721) in compensation in medical disputes from public hospitals in Shanghai will be required to settle the disputes with medical mediation committees.

The action is part of the city's effort to promote third-party mediation to reduce disturbances at local hospitals.

Starting tomorrow, all public hospitals in Shanghai are not allowed to make direct compensation deals with patients who ask for more than 30,000 yuan, according to a notice jointly issued by the city's justice bureau, health bureau and public security bureau.

The third-party committees, composed of independent members, were introduced by the city on August 23, 2011.

Li Heping, a justice bureau official, said research found medical disputes involving a compensation demand of over 30,000 yuan are usually more complicated and difficult.

"It is hard for hospitals and patients to reach an agreement when the claims are too much. Patients will get emotional and annoyed if their face-to-face negotiation with hospitals fails." If such a dispute gets too contentious, "it is likely to trigger malignant events that disturb normal orders in the hospitals and harm medical staff," Li said. "Mediators will explain relevant rules and regulations to patients and help them make a reasonable demand rather than huge claims that they would never get from hospitals and insurance companies," Li said.

Since August 2011, medical mediation committees across the city have accepted 2,272 disputes and solved 1,623 of them. The success rate reached 71.8 percent and the method proved to be effective to curb on medical disputes, said the city's health authorities.

Despite general success, the mediation work in some areas has not been going well. Only 34 in 100 cases were solved between January and July in Hongkou District.


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