Senior doctors in South Korea submit resignations, deepening dispute over medical school plan

Mar25,2024



Seoul: South Korea – senior doctors Started contributing to major hospitals in South Korea resignations Mass demonstration was held on Monday in support of medical intern and residents who have been on a strike The government is under pressure to increase rapidly for five weeks medical school admission,
The actions of the senior doctors are unlikely to worsen the immediate situation of hospital operations in South Korea as they have said they will continue working after submitting their resignations. But prospects for a quick end to the medical standoff were also slim, as the doctors' planned action comes after President Yoon Suk Yeol called for talks with doctors, suggesting a possible softening of punitive measures against striking junior doctors.
Nearly 12,000 trainees and medical residents face imminent suspension of their licenses for refusing to end their strike, which has led to the cancellation of hundreds of surgeries and other treatments at their hospitals.
They oppose the government's plan to raise the country's medical school admission threshold by two-thirds, saying schools cannot handle such a huge increase in students and that it will ultimately hurt South Korea's medical services. But officials say there is an urgent need for more doctors because South Korea's population is rapidly aging and its doctor-to-population ratio is one of the lowest in the developed world.
At a meeting with ruling party leader Han Dong-hoon on Sunday, representatives of medical professors and doctors from about 40 university hospitals – where junior doctors work during training – expressed support for the striking doctors, and said that The government's recruitment plan “will fail our country's medical system,” Kim Chang-soo, head of the emergency committee at those universities, said on Monday.
Kim called Yoon's proposal a positive step but said the current standoff between doctors and the government will not be resolved unless the government withdraws its recruitment plan.
He said doctors at universities are expected to stick to their previous plan to resign voluntarily and reduce their working hours to 52 hours per week – the maximum weekly number of legal working hours. Observers say senior doctors are struggling with excessive workload after junior doctors left the hospital.
“If the government intends to withdraw its plan or intends to consider it, we are ready to discuss all pending issues with the government in front of the public,” Kim said.
Later on Monday, an unspecified number of senior doctors came forward and submitted their resignations, according to doctors involved in the protest. He said that some doctors had resigned last week itself.
After Sunday's meeting, Han asked Yoon's office to “flexibly handle” the issue of planned license suspensions for striking doctors. According to Yoon's office, Yoon then asked his prime minister to adopt “flexible measures” to resolve the dispute and seek constructive consultation with doctors.
It is not clear how soon the government and doctors will sit down for talks and reach a conclusion. Some observers say the government's softening of penalties for striking doctors and talks with doctors are likely related to next month's parliamentary elections as further disruption to hospital operations would be unhelpful for ruling party candidates.
The striking junior doctors represent less than 10% of South Korea's 140,000 doctors. But in some major hospitals, they constitute about 30% to 40% of the doctors, who assist senior doctors during surgeries and deal with admitted patients during training.
Public polls show that a majority of South Koreans support the government's effort to create more doctors, and critics say that doctors, one of the highest-paid professions in South Korea, are becoming less skilled due to the increase in the number of doctors. Worried about income.
Officials say more doctors are needed to address long-standing shortages in rural areas and essential but low-paying specialties. But doctors say the newly admitted students will also try to work in the capital region and in higher paying areas like plastic surgery and dermatology. They say doctors may have to carry out unnecessary treatments due to increased competition as a result of the government scheme.



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