South Korea to suspend licenses of striking doctors as they refuse to end walkouts

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SEOUL — South Korea’s government began steps Monday to suspend nan aesculapian licenses of thousands of striking inferior doctors, days aft they missed a government-set deadline to extremity their associated walkouts, which person severely impacted infirmary operations.

Nearly 9,000 aesculapian interns and residents person been connected onslaught for 2 weeks to protestation a authorities push to sharply summation nan number of aesculapian schoolhouse admissions. Their action has led to hundreds of canceled surgeries and different treatments and threatened to load nan country’s aesculapian service.

On Monday, officials were sent to dozens of hospitals to formally corroborate nan absence of nan striking doctors arsenic nan authorities began steps to suspend their licenses for astatine slightest 3 months, Vice Health Minister Park Min-soo told a briefing.

Park said authorities would later notify nan striking doctors of their expected licence suspensions and springiness them a chance to respond. He suggested nan licence suspensions would return weeks to spell into effect.

“Despite repeated appeals by nan authorities and different parts of society, nan number of trainee doctors returning to activity is very insignificant. Starting from today, we statesman nan execution of rule pinch nan on-site inspection,” Park said.

Park again repeated nan government’s telephone for nan doctors to extremity their walkouts.

“We again powerfully impulse them to return to patients by not ignoring nan pains of patients hovering betwixt life and decease — and their families,” he said.

South Korea’s authorities began steps Monday to suspend nan aesculapian licenses of thousands of striking inferior doctors, days aft they missed a government-set deadline to extremity their associated walkouts, which person severely impacted infirmary operations. (Chun Jung-in/Yonhap via AP)A aesculapian worker enters nan operating room astatine a infirmary successful Gwangju, South Korea connected Monday.Chun Jung-in / Yonhap via AP

South Korea’s authorities earlier ordered nan striking doctors to return to activity by Feb. 29. South Korea’s aesculapian rule allows nan authorities to make specified back-to-work orders to doctors erstwhile it sees sedate risks to nationalist health. Anyone who refuses to travel specified orders tin beryllium punished pinch a suspension of his aliases her licence for up to 1 year, and 3 years successful situation aliases a 30 cardinal won (roughly $22,500) fine.

Last month, nan South Korean authorities announced it would raise nan country’s aesculapian schoolhouse enrollment headdress by 2,000 starting adjacent year, from nan existent 3,058. Officials said it’s urgent to person much doctors to woody pinch a fast-aging organization and resoluteness a shortage of physicians successful agrarian areas and basal yet low-paying specialties for illustration pediatrics and emergency departments.

Officials opportunity South Korea’s doctor-to-population ratio is 1 of nan lowest among developed countries.

But galore doctors person opposed nan plan, arguing universities can’t connection value acquisition to specified an abrupt summation successful students. They besides opportunity adding truthful galore caller doctors would besides summation nationalist aesculapian expenses since greater title would lead to excess treatments. They besides foretell recently added students would besides want to activity successful high-paying, celebrated professions for illustration integrative room and dermatology.

Critics opportunity galore doctors reason nan authorities scheme simply because they interest adding much doctors would consequence successful a little income.

The striking inferior doctors are a mini fraction of nan country’s 140,000 doctors. But they relationship for 30-40% of nan full doctors astatine immoderate awesome hospitals, wherever they assistance elder doctors while training.

Senior doctors person staged a slew of thoroughfare rallies supporting nan young doctors but haven’t joined their walkouts. Police said they were investigating 5 ranking members of nan Korea Medical Association, a assemblage that represents South Korean doctors, for allegedly inciting and abetting nan walkouts.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press