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Local health bureau goes nuts with mentally disabled quota
Last Updated: 2013-10-12 10:37 | CE.cn
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By Li Hongei

When a city's health bureau began identifying a minimum quota of patients with serious mental disabilities in its districts, criticisms was a no-brainer, according to a report on Xinhua's Chinese -language website.

Since Oct. 2012, Zhengzhou Health Bureau has requested its agencies to complete an overview of mental health in central Henan's capital city, which has a population of more than 9 million.

Under the program, health officials are requested to include at least two patients with severe mental disorders for every 1000 residents of any given district. Those who fail to meet the quota face disciplinary action, the report said.

In order to fulfill the directive, Liu Zhixiao, an official from a public health center in the city, said she had to lead a delegation to conduct free clinics across the community to find "suitable" mentally sick patients.

"I have conducted random checks in the area almost every day for at the least last two months," she added.

Shi Xiaoqin, a doctor working in another health center, said she was unable to make any promises or answer questions posed by the relatives of the patients, who wanted to know if they would get any assistance by being listed.

City residents have expressed their disagreement with the measure. The responsibility of health workers, they said, is to promote disease prevention in the community, not to file fraudulent reports and identify mentally healthy people as 'sick.'

Huang Xuetao, a lawyer specializing in handling mental health law, termed the practice "ridiculous" and said it was unfair to apply quantitative indicators to treatment, which should instead seek support from families and the community.

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