South Korean doctors resign from their posts amid growing controversy over medical schools. World

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Senior doctors at major South Korean hospitals began resigning en masse on Monday to support interns and residents over a government plan to dramatically increase positions at medical schools. Have been on strike for five weeks.

The protest by senior doctors was unlikely to immediately impair the functioning of the hospitals as they had said they would continue to work even after submitting their resignations. However, there was also little chance of the dispute being resolved quickly, as the doctors’ action came after President Yoon Suk Yeol called for talks with doctors and hinted at a possible reduction in punitive measures against doctors. Young doctors are on strike.

Nearly 12,000 medical trainees and residents face imminent suspension of their licenses for refusing to end their strike, which has forced their hospitals to cancel hundreds of surgeries and other treatments.

They oppose the government’s plan to increase places in the country’s medical schools by two-thirds, saying that schools cannot handle such a rapid increase and that it will harm South Korean medical services in the long run. However, officials say there is an urgent need for more doctors due to the rapidly growing population and the doctor-to-population ratio being the lowest in the developed world.

At a meeting on Sunday with ruling party leader Han Dong-hoon, representatives of medical professors and doctors from about 40 university hospitals – where doctors in training work – expressed support for the strike and said the government’s plan ” “Our country’s medical system will collapse,” Kim Chang-soo, leader of the universities’ emergency committee, said on Monday.

Kim called Yoon’s approach a positive step, but said the fight between doctors and the government would not be resolved unless the government withdrew its plan.

Kim expressed hope that doctors and universities would maintain their plan of voluntary resignations and reduce their working hours to 52 per week, the legal maximum allowed in a week. Observers say senior doctors have been left with a heavy workload since their less experienced colleagues left the hospital.

The number of striking trainee doctors is less than 10% of South Korea’s 140,000 doctors. But in larger hospitals they represent 30 to 40% of the doctors, assisting in surgeries and care of inpatients.

Opinion polls indicate that most South Koreans support the government’s initiative to train more doctors, and critics say that doctors, one of the highest-paid professions in South Korea, will become less skilled if the number of doctors increases. Worried about earnings.

Officials say more doctors are needed to address a deep shortage of professionals in rural areas and essential but low-paying specialties. However, doctors say the newly admitted students will also strive to work in the capital region and in high-paying areas such as plastic surgery and dermatology. He claims that due to the increased competition from the government scheme, doctors will also have to intervene unnecessarily.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

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