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South Korea adopts a more lenient stance on the decision to raise medical quotas


Apr 3, 2024

During a government response meeting on April 3, Interior Minister Lee Sang-min announced that the Korean government is prepared to alter the medical school admission policy if a better proposal is presented. Minister Lee highlighted the government’s willingness to consider alternative opinions with strong rationale to improve decisions. He underscored the importance of health reform and outlined necessary measures to safeguard people’s health and lives.

Amid ongoing conflicts with the medical community, Lee called on intern doctors to return to work, assuring them that their concerns will be taken seriously while they continue to care for patients. The strike by more than 90% of the country’s 13,000 intern doctors, which began on February 20, has had a significant impact on the Korean healthcare system. Major hospitals have reduced services, with surgeries, outpatient appointments, and emergency procedures being postponed.

Despite the strike, the government remains open to negotiation with doctors to find a unified and reasonable solution. The decision to increase medical school enrollment quotas by 2,000 students was made to address the challenges posed by an aging population and a shortage of medical professionals in essential fields. However, protesting doctors argue that this move will compromise the quality of education and medical services, leading to a surplus of doctors.

As the strike continues, medical professors and senior doctors have also announced a collective resignation and reduced hours to show solidarity with their students. They believe that increasing remuneration and bonuses for doctors would be a more effective way to address the challenges faced by medical professionals. The situation remains tense as negotiations between the government and doctors have yet to yield a clear resolution.

In the midst of these developments, the public’s access to healthcare services remains affected, with university hospitals and private clinics experiencing disruptions in service provision. It is clear that finding a resolution to the conflict between the government and medical professionals is crucial to ensuring the effective functioning of the Korean healthcare system.

By editor

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