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February 21, 2014

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Mediation to settle medical disputes

A REGULATION involving third-party mediation to prevent and solve medical disputes will come into effect next month, city officials said yesterday.

Under the law, patients can approach a mediation committee with their grievance and local public hospitals will have to cooperate with the committee.

Patients seeking more than 30,000 yuan (US$4,929) in compensation will have to settle their disputes with the medical mediation committees.

The mediation has been tried out since 2011 but is now a law because of the rising number of cases where disgruntled patients or their family members physically attacked doctors.

The third-party mediation committees will be composed of independent members.

Each of the city’s districts has a mediation committee. By the end of 2013, they had dealt with a total of 6,784 disputes with a settlement rate of nearly 82 percent.

Li Heping, a justice bureau official, said mediation committees saw a jump in the number of cases as people learnt of their existence.

“The mediation takes the medical disputes out of the hospitals, which greatly reduces the possibility of attacks and disturbances at the hospitals,” Li said.

Last October, a patient in Zhejiang Province stabbed a doctor to death and injured two others because he was unhappy with an operation on his nose. The patient said he carried out the attack as he felt cheated after the hospital claimed the surgery was successful.

Li said the mediation committee provides an alternative channel for patients to tackle the disputes.

Zhao Yong, a health official, said authorities would analyze medical disputes to try and improve medical services to stop the disputes at the source itself.



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