Beijing is taking a novel approach to protecting doctors from growing levels of violence from angry patients: volunteer “guardian angels.”
The campaign will recruit students, medical workers and other patients to act as middlemen between doctors and those in their care to defuse disagreements and smooth over tensions, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.
Doctors have come under increasing threat as China’s healthcare system struggles to cope with low doctor numbers, poor levels of training and rampant corruption inflating the price of care. This has seen a number of fatal attacks by patients on doctors in the past year.
“Patients will understand doctors better after talking with our volunteers,” Feng Guosheng (封國生), head of the Beijing Municipal Administration of Hospitals, told Xinhua, adding that services would include “hospital guidance” and “psychological intervention.”
China’s government stepped up security at hospitals earlier this year, posting police at some centers and increasing surveillance.
The Beijing campaign will recruit more than 1,500 volunteers to serve a one-year term across 21 hospitals in the capital, Xinhua reported.
In the latest attack on medical staff, a 45-year-old man unhappy with the results of his circumcision and its cost stabbed a doctor to death in Jiangsu Province on Tuesday, Xinhua said.