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Guangzhou sets up centre for mental patients
By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-22 02:16

A succour centre for mental patients from outside the city is under construction in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province.

The succour centre, the first of its kind in China, will have more than 500 beds. It is expected to start operating after spring festival on February 9, 2005.

Pan Yingqiang, director of the Social Welfare Rescue Department under the Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs, said the new centre will aim to offer timely rescue to mental patients as well as rovers and beggars from outside the city.

And medical treatment will be free, Pan said yesterday.

The Guangzhou municipal government is considering turning the centre into a charitable hospital in a few years.

In years to come, the centre will be equipped with ambulances to help rescue patients in need of emergency medical treatment.

Construction of the succour centre, that covers an area of more than 10,000 square metres, is expected to cost more than 20 million yuan (US$2.4 million).

When completed, it will be the largest centre for mental patients in the Chinese mainland.

The centre, the city's rescue station, 110 emergency centres, the protection centre for roving children and the floating rescue centre at the Guangzhou Railway Station, will form a comprehensive succour system for mental patients from outside the city.

"All the mental patients who want to receive medical treatment in the succour centre, proved to be mental patients by local psychiatrists, will be approved by the municipal civil affairs bureau," Pan said.

The succour centre was built after Guangzhou received a total of 347 mental patients from outside the city between August 1 of 2003 and July 25 this year.

The southern Chinese metropolis received the largest number of such mental patients in the country in the past year, said Pan.

After treatment in Guangzhou, 104 of them have returned home, Pan said.

The momentum is likely to continue in the coming years due to fierce competition and great employment pressures in Guangdong Province, Pan said.

Many people who come from outside the province are now facing even more difficulties in the province.

In another development, the Shenzhen city government is planning to create more job opportunities for the city's rovers and beggars.

The city's beggars and rovers will be offered job opportunities in cleaning local streets, public toilets, recycling rubbish and other related work.

The aim of the plan is to help beggars and rovers earn basic living expenses and quit begging.

The Shenzhen government is moving to prevent begging from becoming a profession in the city.

Meanwhile the Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs is now considering setting up files for all the beggars and rovers from outside the city in the near future.

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