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Medical Workers Suffering from Stress

Medical workers are suffering under excessive workloads, leading to high levels of stress, a survey by the Guangdong provincial situation study and research center has said.

More than 80 percent of medical workers in the province regularly work for seven days at a time without a break, which creates serious mental pressure, the survey found.

"I usually work the night shift for a whole week. Sometimes I feel very tired and don't have any time to spend with my family," Ye Bi, a 29-year-old nurse working for the No 1 Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, said.

"The heavy workload sometimes drives down my spirits," she told China Daily yesterday.

Nearly 70 percent of medical workers do not get a full day off during the working week, according to the survey, which covered tens of thousands of medical staff in the province.

"I even worry about my physical health since the work comes with fairly serious physical risks," Ye said.

In addition to their heavy workloads, many medical workers said disputes between hospitals and patients have also contributed to the pressure they feel, the survey found.

"The widespread media coverage of such disputes has put much pressure on doctors.

"Most of them have to think twice before they treat a patient," Shi Yumei, a researcher with the Guangdong provincial academy of social sciences, said.

She called for more investment in medical equipment and an increase in the number of medical staff, particularly in rural areas.

"This would help reduce the workload for medical staff," Shi said.

"Most small hospitals in rural areas have less than 10 doctors and their facilities need to be improved," she said.

She also said hospitals should organize more recreational activities after work for staff members to help them relax.

(China Daily November 23, 2007)

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