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S. Korea deploys army, public medical doctors to strike-hit hospitals

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South Korea deploys military, public doctors to strike-hit hospitals

Medical staff stroll at Severance Hospital in Seoul, South Korea, February 21, 2024. REUTERS

SEOUL — South Korea will begin deploying army physicians and medical doctors from public well being facilities to strike-hit hospitals on Monday to assist look after sufferers affected by the walkout of practically 12,000 trainee medical doctors from 100 hospitals over authorities reform plans.

Twenty army surgeons together with 138 public well being medical doctors shall be assigned to twenty hospitals for 4 weeks, Well being Minister Cho Kyoo-hong mentioned at a gathering on Sunday.

The variety of army physicians referred to as on to assist up to now was solely a small fraction of the roughly 2,400 army medical doctors, in response to a protection ministry briefing.

READ: South Korea publicly orders some medical doctors who walked off the job again to work

The federal government has denied the walkout which began on Feb. 20 has brought about a full-blown well being disaster however some hospitals have needed to flip away sufferers and delay medical procedures.

As of Friday morning, practically 12,000 protesting medical doctors at 100 hospitals had left their posts in a dispute over a authorities plan to extend medical college admissions, well being ministry knowledge confirmed, defying strain from authorities to return to work.

South Korean authorities have been making an attempt to coax the medical doctors to return to work by warning them that their medical licenses might be suspended however up to now seem to have had little success with the tactic.

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READ: Overworked and unheard, South Korean medical doctors on mass walkout

The well being ministry mentioned notices had been despatched to greater than 4,900 medical doctors as of Friday to instruct them that authorities may begin suspending licenses if they didn’t clarify their motion.

Medical doctors who returned to work earlier than the executive measure to droop licenses was full could be “given leniency”, Cho advised KBS Radio on Monday.

The federal government has the facility to order medical doctors again to work if it deems there’s a critical threat to lives and public well being.

The federal government has mentioned the plan to extend annual medical college admissions by 2,000 ranging from 2025 is important to treatment a scarcity of medical doctors in one of many world’s fastest-aging societies.

The placing medical doctors argue that merely including medical college students is not going to deal with pay and work situations, and will probably exacerbate the issues.

Critics of the coverage additionally accuse President Yoon Suk Yeol of choosing a battle over medical reforms to profit his occasion forward of parliamentary elections in April.

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A survey revealed final week by the Yonhap information company discovered 84% of respondents supported including extra medical doctors, whereas 43% mentioned placing physicians needs to be sternly punished.

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