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March 28, 2014

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Police pledge better protection for medics

POLICE and hospitals must work together if they are to combat the growing problem of violent attacks on medical professionals, a senior law enforcement official said yesterday.

People’s safety must be the top priority, Yu Lie, deputy director-general of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, told a press conference.

Already this year there have been 12 such attacks and 11 people have been either detained or released on bail, he said.

Security has to be improved, Yu said, adding that a possible deterrent would be to stage regular police patrols within the city’s hospitals.

Furthermore, if a police station receives an alarm call from a hospital it must respond immediately, he said.

As well as dealing with attacks as they happen, law enforcement teams are committed to cracking down on those people that make a living from this kind of violent crime, Yu said.

Patients and families who feel they have been mistreated by a hospital can all too easily recruit gangs of thugs and trouble makers to assault medics, blockade entrances or destroy property, Yu said.

This is something that must be stopped, he said.

In response to a spate of reports of attacks on medics, many hospitals have enhanced their security systems.

Xu Chenglin, head of security at the Shanghai No. 1 People’s Hospital, told Shanghai Daily that his workplace now has 74 emergency alarms, most of which are in the outpatient and emergency departments, and the intensive care unit.

If any of the panic buttons are pressed a security guard will be on the scene within three minutes, he said.

“We have 77 security guards, all of whom have been trained to deal with these kinds of incidents. So as soon as an alarm goes off, whoever is nearest will respond,” Xu said.

“Within the team we also have nine guards — most of them ex-service personnel — who have undergone special training,” he said, without elaborating.

The hospital also has 512 security cameras, while a team of guards makes regular patrols throughout the day.

“As well as helping to stop assaults, the cameras help us to identify thieves,” Xu said.

In just the first five months after Xu took charge of security, five people were detained, four for attacking medical workers and one for theft, he said.

Several cases of doctors and nurses being assaulted by disgruntled patients have made the newspapers in recent weeks.

Last Friday, three medics at the Shanghai No. 5 People’s Hospital were injured by a 68-year-old cancer patient armed with a machete.

Earlier in the month, more than 20 relatives of a woman whose baby was delivered stillborn rioted at the Zhabei District Central Hospital, destroying the nurses station.

Besides enhancing security, Wu Jinhua, vice president of the Shanghai No. 1 People’s Hospital, said hospitals must work harder to improve the quality of the care and services they provide.

“If patients and their families are satisfied with our services, they won’t do such things,” he told Shanghai Daily.


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