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Doctors to discuss next steps against govt. following one-day strike

June 19, 2024 - 09:45 By Yonhap
Doctors affiliated with the Korea Medical Association hold a rally in Seoul on Tuesday, protesting an increase in medical school enrollment. (Yonhap)

Major groups of doctors and medical professors will gather Wednesday to discuss what to do next against the government's medical reform plan after threatening to launch an indefinite strike next week, officials said.

On Tuesday, some community doctors and medical professors affiliated with the Korea Medical Association held a one-day walkout, and they have threatened to launch an indefinite strike June 27 unless the government accepts their demands.

The KMA will hold a meeting with groups for medical professors and an emergency committee of doctors at the Seoul National University hospitals later in the day "to discuss what to do next together against the government's measures," a council official said.

The KMA has demanded that the government revisit the medical school quota increase, revise some of its reform measures aimed at beefing up essential medical fields, and withdraw punitive steps against trainee doctors and medical students.

Trainee doctors have walked off their jobs since late February against the quota hike decision, and professors serving as senior doctors at the SNU hospitals suspended their services Monday, with more major hospitals expected to follow suit.

The KMA plans to launch a new medical communitywide response committee Thursday, which will lead their anti-government movements, according to officials.

The envisioned entity would include medical professors and striking junior doctors, they added.

The government has flatly rejected the doctors' demand to reconsider the quota increase and vowed stern responses to any illegal moves.

The government already finalized an admissions quota hike of some 1,500 students for medical schools late last month, marking the first such increase in 27 years.

The monthslong standoff between the government and doctors has disrupted the country's health care system, and there seems no immediate breakthrough in sight.

Around 14.9 percent of the 36,059 community hospitals, excluding dental and Oriental medicine clinics, staged a walkout Tuesday, according to the health ministry. (Yonhap)