South Korean Medical Professor Offers Mass Resignation – 2024-03-18 22:59:05

Medical professors across the country are threatening mass resignations against the government’s plans.(AFP)

Medical professors across the country are threatening mass resignations. This is because doctors reject the government’s plan to increase medical school enrollment quotas to overcome the shortage of doctors in rural areas.

Professors from medical schools, including at Seoul National University (SNU), have warned of collective action, raising concerns that interns may face repercussions. The government has called the strikes illegal and taken steps to suspend their permits.

More than 90% of the country’s 13,000 trainee doctors, consisting of interns and resident doctors, have staged mass resignations over three weeks to protest the government’s decision to increase the number of medical students from the current 3,058 to 5,058 next year .

Many medical students also applied for leave or boycotted classes in protest.

Medical professors at SNU have unanimously decided to submit their resignations en masse next Monday, unless the government prepares “rational measures” to address the ongoing situation.

On Tuesday, the professors signaled what they consider rational action, suggesting that the government postpone a decision on increasing medical school quotas until next year.

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In addition, they suggested forming a panel consisting of government officials, politicians, professors, doctors and community representatives to generate more ideas aimed at revitalizing important areas of medicine such as pediatrics and emergency medicine.

“We call on the government to commission a credible foreign agency to analyze Korea’s health and medical indicators and make a decision regarding the quota increase after one year, based on the results of this analysis,” said Bang Jae-seung, who chaired an emergency meeting of the SNU medical professors’ council committee in press conference at the National Assembly.

The Medical Professors Association of Korea (MPAK), which represents professors from 33 medical schools across the country, also vowed to hold the government accountable if the ongoing situation causes harm to interns and medical students.

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“More and more medical professors will resign voluntarily, and this will lead to the collapse of the health care and medical education systems in the country, and urge the government to open dialogue without imposing any conditions,” MPAK said in a statement,

On March 7, medical professors at Ulsan University agreed to submit their resignations en masse to protest the government’s administrative actions targeting striking doctors.

Despite growing concerns over the prolonged impasse between the government and the medical community, President Yoon Suk Yeol, on Tuesday, directed government officials to “adhere to the principles and promptly advance medical reform measures,” including an increase in medical school quotas, according to spokesman Kim Soo Kyung.

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In the meeting with senior secretaries, Yoon also emphasized the importance of thorough preparation to ensure patients in emergency and critical conditions can receive appropriate treatment.

Responding to possible collective action taken by the professors, Health Minister Cho Kyoo-hong expressed deep concern and stated that such action would endanger the lives of patients.

“Another mass resignation will not be able to gain public support,” Cho said at a government meeting on the issue.

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The minister reiterated that the government would maintain a firm stance, stressing that the principle of holding trainee doctors accountable for their misconduct remains unchanged.

He said the ministry had issued prior notice to 5,556 doctors who were on strike due to their violation of the Medical Services Act. This procedure aims to give them the opportunity to express their opinion before their license is suspended.

Second Deputy Health Minister Park Min-soo noted medical professors are part of the overall medical professionals, so the government, according to the Medical Services Act, can issue orders to them to maintain their duties, if they also go on strike. .

“We are reviewing it, although it is not the right time to say whether we will issue such an order,” Park said at a press conference.

Regarding the SNU Professor’s proposal to postpone the decision to increase the quota for medical faculties, the Ministry of Health stated that this policy could not be postponed any longer. (koreatimes/Z-3)

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