Officials in Zhengzhou, Henan Province have been unable to fill a set quota for reporting cases of mentally ill patients SCMP writes. Sub-districts are expected to report at least two grave cases of mental illness per 1,000 residents according to a leaked government document.
However, many were unable to meet this requirement; Linke sub-district only had 12 registered patients, 59 fewer than the target of 71 patients. Huang Linlin, a doctor at Linke Community Health Center explained the apparently low numbers: “Maybe the quota was designed based on the situation in cities such as Beijing and Shenzhen, where more people may have problems due to great pressure.”
These quotas reflect a recent drive to improve psychiatric healthcare after China’s first mental health laws were enacted this May. However, the efficacy of these laws and China’s mental health institutions have been questioned by many nationally and internationally.
In order to avoid a range of administrative penalties for failing to obtain this quota, some doctors have allegedly inflated their numbers of mentally ill Shanghai Daily reports:
Doctors at community centers try many approaches to meet the quota — including questioning every family in their patch and offering free consultation.
But some community doctors top up numbers by including people with less serious mental health issues and conditions such as cerebral palsy and autism, reported the newspaper.
Doctor Ma Peixin, from Beilin Road community, admitted including a former cabin crew member who suffered memory problems after falling on an aircraft.
“In order to register as many patients as we can, we finally counted her,” Ma said.
In a total flipflop, the local authority issued a statement this Wednesday changing its policy regarding the quota. Apparently, the quotas are not mandatory after all and are “only aimed at improving the rate of detection and management of mentally ill people and to lower the risk of accidents.”
By Maea Lenei Buhre