Withdrawal of health union strike, keep promise to expand public health care

Prime Minister Bu-gyeom Kim visits the 13th working-level negotiations between the National Health and Medical Industry Labor Union and the Ministry of Health and Welfare held at the Medical Institute Evaluation and Certification Institute in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul on the 1st and greets union officials. yunhap news

The health and medical industry union reached an agreement with the government on the 2nd to expand public health care, and withdrew the general strike just hours before the start. It is fortunate that the strike of medical staff was resolved through dialogue in a severe situation where there are around 2,000 new confirmed cases of Corona 19 every day, and the number of serious patients is increasing, even in areas where there are not enough beds. I can’t help but welcome the tug-of-war decision of the union, which agreed to an agreement with the government, who tried to solve the problem with sincerity, after several days of tug-of-war dialogue.

In the agreement, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the health and medical union included plans to expand public health care, such as expanding hospitals specializing in infectious diseases by region by 2024 and operating at least one responsible medical institution for each of the 70 or so central treatment areas. In order to establish an infectious disease response system, they also agreed to establish standards for the placement of nurses per heavy duty duty and to institutionalize life safety allowances for infectious disease response personnel. In order to expand health and medical personnel and improve treatment, it was decided to reorganize the nursing rating system based on the number of patients per nurse and expand the number of nurses in charge of education.

It goes without saying that public hospital medical staff have been at the forefront of quarantine and treatment for one year and eight months since the spread of Corona. However, the reality that 10% of public hospitals cover 80% of these patients needs to be improved. That is why expansion of public hospitals has been an important policy task of the government since before Corona. With the slogan of “a safe Republic of Korea”, both the president and the prime minister have emphasized the need to strengthen public health care whenever possible, so in principle, the unions and governments are not different.

However, the fact that the negotiations, which lasted nearly four months, eventually reached just before the general strike, was due to the slow implementation of the policy. Even if the Ministry of Health and Welfare is motivated, if the budget priority is pushed back, the establishment of a public hospital will inevitably take a long time. Various legislations to expand the health workforce are impossible without the attention and effort of the National Assembly. As stipulated in the agreement, the Prime Minister’s Office should actively support the coordination of roles between ministries. Above all, the opposition and opposition parties should take responsibility for improving the system for the expansion of public health care so that the labor-management agreement does not go unnoticed.


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