Posted: 21.02.2024 17:33:00

S. Korean doctors joining protests, with patient treatment at risk

Thousands of trainee doctors at South Korea’s largest hospitals demonstrated on February 21st, to protest a plan to admit more students to medical schools, disrupting treatment for dozens of patients, Reuters reports


The government wants to increase medical school admissions from 3,000 to 5,000 in the 2025 academic year and then to 10,000 by 2035. The plan is being developed to strengthen healthcare in remote areas and cope with the growing needs of one of the world’s most rapidly ageing societies.

“However, doctors and medical students who joined the protest argue that South Korea has enough doctors and before recruiting more students, the authorities should improve pay and working conditions, especially for specialists in complex fields such as paediatrics and emergency medicine,” the publication reads.

The protests began earlier this week, and the Health Ministry said 7,800 doctors had now left their jobs despite government orders for them to stay at work. Doctors say this is contrary to the Constitution. Vice Health Minister Park Min-soo urged protesters to prioritise their patients over collective actions.