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Healthcare standoff in South Korea escalates as medical professors plan to submit resignations




South Korea: Healthcare standoff to deepen as med professors prepare to submit resignations

Seoul, March 24 (IANS) – The ongoing conflict between the South Korean government and doctors escalated as medical school professors prepared to submit mass resignations and reduce patient care on March 25 to protest against the increase in the medical school enrollment quota. More than 90 per cent of the country’s trainee doctors have been on strike for a month.

Medical school professors across South Korea are set to join the protest by submitting mass resignations and cutting back on outpatient care, starting April 1. The collective action is in response to the government’s decision to increase the medical school enrollment quota by 2,000 seats, a move aimed at improving health care services in remote areas.

The professors have called on the government to reconsider its decision and engage in dialogue. Despite the protests, the government remains firm in its stance, vowing to take action within the law. The government has already begun suspending the licenses of striking doctors who failed to return to work by the set deadline.


The prolonged deadlock has led to disruptions in medical services, prompting concerns from the association of critically ill patients. They have urged the government to find practical solutions and have appealed to doctors to consider the impact of their strike on patients, calling it a “death sentence.”

In response, the government plans to deploy more military surgeons and public health doctors to affected hospitals, in addition to hiring retired senior doctors to mitigate the chaos. The government argues that the increase in the admission quota is necessary to address the shortage of doctors in rural areas and essential medical fields.

However, doctors maintain that the quota hikes could compromise the quality of medical education and services, creating a surplus of physicians. They believe the government should focus on protecting them from malpractice suits and offer better compensation to encourage doctors to work in less popular areas.


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