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Home industry healthcare in protest of medical school quotas, trainee doctors in South Korea staged a walkout

In protest of medical school quotas, trainee doctors in South Korea staged a walkout


 protest med school quotas doctors South Korea staged walkout

Fears of delays in surgical procedures and patient care were heightened on Tuesday when over 1,600 resident physicians in South Korea's largest hospitals staged a walkout in protest of a government plan to accept more students to medical schools.

The government intends to increase the number of medical school admissions by 2,000 starting in the 2025 academic year, as opposed to the current yearly average of roughly 3,000, and to add an additional 10,000 seats by 2035.

About 6,400 of the 13,000 doctors and interns at large hospitals submitted resignations in protest, and by 11 p.m. on Monday, about 1,630 of them had left, according to the health ministry.

At a cabinet meeting, President Yoon Suk Yeol stated that increasing the number of medical school spots is essential to developing cutting-edge technologies and expanding access to basic healthcare in rural areas.

Major hospitals announced they were changing surgery schedules and patient appointments, in spite of a government order for the doctors to remain on the job.

Emergency measures, including the use of telemedicine, increased operations at public hospitals, and the opening of military clinics, were ordered by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, who had begged doctors not to take people's lives and health hostage.

Concerns over a severe lack of doctors for pediatrics, emergency rooms, and clinics outside of the greater Seoul area have led to a Gallup Korea poll conducted last week, which revealed that roughly 76% of South Koreans support the idea of recruiting more medical students.

With 2.6 doctors per 1,000 people in 2022, South Korea's 52 million inhabitants had a doctor-to-population ratio that was much lower than the 3.7 average for OECD countries.

However, medical professionals and associations representing medical students argue that there are already enough doctors and that adding more could result in needless medical procedures and jeopardize the national health insurance program's finances.

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