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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Hospital gives doctors lessons in Shanghainese

By Cai Wenjun   (Shanghai Daily)

09:29, February 27, 2012

A city hospital has launched Shanghainese classes for non-local doctors, after patients complained that medics could not understand them.

Officials at Huadong Hospital in Jing'an District said 60 percent of patients there are local elderly people.

Many can't speak Mandarin, while doctors from other areas struggle to understand the local dialect.

Huadong is the first city hospital to train medics in Shanghainese.

"To avoid misunderstandings and improve doctor-patient relationships, the hospital decided to offer this," said Zuo Gang, a hospital official. "We have hired teachers to instruct doctors in the proper Shanghai dialect for daily life and in medical practice."

He said the hospital plans to extend the training to nursing aids.

Some other city hospitals said they didn't plan to follow suit as Mandarin is the language recommended by the local health bureau and because their patient composition is different.

"Unlike Huadong Hospital, which is located in downtown and most of its patients are locals, between 60 to 70 percent of our patients come from other areas," said Xia Lin from Shanghai Children's Medical Center in the Pudong New Area.

Therefore, it makes sense to promote Mandarin among staff, said Xia.

"Whether using Shanghainese or Mandarin, hospitals wants to better serve patients. Using the language patients are most comfortable with is part of that care," said Xia.

Shanghai Health Bureau said rising awareness of patients' language requirement shows that hospitals are striving to meet patients' needs.

"Improving medical skills and service are both important to local hospitals," said an official.

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