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Striking Junior Doctors in South Korea Challenge Government’s Medical Training Reform Plans

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Striking Junior Doctors in South Korea Challenge Government’s Medical Training Reform Plans

Junior doctors in South Korea have been on strike for seven days, putting the health system under significant strain. The strike is in response to the Government’s plans to reform the medical training process, allowing more students to enter medical careers. This move is being opposed by the Korean Medical Association (KMA), representing around 140,000 doctors, who are adamant about fighting against the increase in medical student admissions.

According to the South Korean Ministry of Health, around 8,940 intern doctors have left their jobs in protest, which accounts for 72.7% of professionals in the country. This mass exodus of doctors has led to a disruption in operations at major hospitals, threatening the general medical service in the country.

The Government has threatened to take legal action against the striking doctors if they do not return to work. The authorities argue that the increase in medical student admissions is necessary to address the growing demands of an aging society. However, the doctors on strike believe that the focus should be on improving pay and working conditions rather than increasing the number of doctors.

The strike has resulted in a significant decrease in new patients visiting large hospitals, with scheduled surgeries being canceled. The Government has taken steps to mitigate the impact by extending working hours at public medical institutions and allowing nurses to perform some medical procedures normally done by doctors.

The situation remains tense as the Government has given the striking doctors until Thursday to return to work. Failure to do so could result in the suspension of their medical licenses and legal action. The Government has the power to issue return-to-work orders to doctors when there are serious risks to public health, and those who refuse to comply could face severe consequences.

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The strike and the Government’s response have raised concerns about the future of the South Korean health system and the quality of medical training and service. The standoff between the Government and the doctors is set to continue, with a demonstration planned in Seoul on March 3, where thousands of doctors are expected to participate.

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