[Anchor Lead]A new law on the hospitalization of mental patients took effect in Korea on Tuesday. It has stricter regulations guiding who can be hospitalized and who cannot. But the new law will likely cause confusion for the time being, as critics say it was implemented without sufficient preparation.[Pkg]This woman has schizophrenia, but her symptoms are not severe. Nonetheless, she spent 18 years in a psychiatric hospital, because of her family's demands.[Soundbite] Sister Lee Ok-ja(Manager of Social Facility) : "It was inconvenient for family members. So they just hospitalized her. She's doing great now."With the implementation of the new law, some 13,000 patients who were hospitalized against their will can be finally discharged from psychiatric facilities. But many of them need residential treatment, because they don't have relatives to take care of them.[Soundbite] Prof. Kwon Jun-soo(Seoul National University Hospital) : "The government must prepare facilities that can take care of the patients. They need help with rehabilitating their social functions and adapting to society."Under the new law, patients with mental disorders can only be hospitalized at the approval of two medical specialists. But there is not enough personnel to screen the procedures.[Soundbite] Cho Keun-ho(National Center for Mental Health) : "We have been hiring more personnel to provide treatment to patients in their homes in the Seoul metropolitan area."Concerns are rising that unless there are enough facilities and personnel to take care of discharged patients, the new law may cause serious confusion for a prolonged period of time.
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