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Expectations grow for doctors, govt. to sit down for talks

June 24, 2024 - 10:04 By Yonhap
Patients take a break outside a general hospital in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

Representatives of doctors and the government are expected to sit down for talks as early as this week, as both sides have hinted that they would hold negotiations to seek a breakthrough to end a monthslong standoff over the government's medical reform.

The move came as Lim Hyun-taek, a hawkish head of the Korea Medical Association, has stepped back from the standoff, prompting the KMA to form a committee to cope with potential talks with the government.

After holding its first meeting last Saturday, the committee said it welcomed the government's stance that negotiations with doctors are possible regardless of agenda and formality.

In response, the health ministry asked the committee to hold talks without conditions.

The standoff over the medical reform has appeared to lose steam after medical professors at Seoul National University Hospital and its affiliates decided to end their indefinite walkout, saying they could not put patients at risk anymore.

Since late February, about 12,000 trainee doctors have left their worksites in protest against the medical school quota increase.

Last month, the government finalized an admissions quota hike of some 1,500 students for medical schools, marking the first such increase in 27 years. (Yonhap)