BEIJING, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Patients suffering from serious mental illness should be recorded in a national database in order to gain better medical treatment and help prevent them from harming others.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) issued Monday a document managing patients suffering illnesses such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, persistent delusional disorder and paranoia schizophrenia. They are among six categories of severe mental disturbance in the country's first Mental Health Law that took effect in May.
Patients and those who harm others should be recorded in the national mental illness information administration system, the document said.
It said patients' personal information should be strictly protected to ensure privacy, and the leaking of information to other institutions or individuals is prohibited, except under special circumstances stipulated by law.
Hospitals should receive reports of patients suffering from serious mental illness after diagnosis by a doctor, the document said.
The hospital should record the patient in the national system, or submit a written report to a county-level mental illness prevention and treatment agency, within 10 days after the patient is discharged from hospital, it said.
The county-level agency should inform the medical institution near the patient's home, so that doctors can regularly visit the sufferer and guide treatment and rehabilitation, said the document.
"Early medical treatment is highly needed for patients suffering from a serious mental disorder, or else they could harm themselves or others," said an unnamed NHFPC official.
Reporting the information will help strengthen cooperation between hospitals, civil affairs departments, disabled persons' federations and public security bureaus, in order to "maximumly reduce any harm to others and society," said the official.
China had more than 100 million people with some form of mental disorder in 2009, including 16 million suffering severe mental illnesses, according to latest figures from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.