Anchor: A group representing the nation's medical residents and interns held an hourslong meeting late on Monday to discuss a collective response to the government's planned expansion of the medical school admissions quota. While the group has yet to announce any collective action, the government urged trainee doctors to make the decision to stand by their patients.
Choi You Sun reports.
Report: The Korean Intern Resident Association(KIRA), representing the nation's medical residents and interns, held an extraordinary general meeting through the early hours of Tuesday, on whether to take group action in protest of the government's planned expansion of the quota for medical school admissions.
Following the meeting, KIRA announced that the leadership, with the exception of chair Park Dan, will resign en masse and that the group will form an emergency steering committee to take control of operations.
The association, however, did not mention any detailed plans for collective action, despite earlier saying that a recent survey showed that 88-point-two percent of about ten-thousand trainee doctors at some 140 hospitals had expressed willingness for participation.
The government, in response, expressed relief that no group action has been announced, with second vice health minister Park Min-soo, at a press briefing Tuesday, urging the association to make a decision that will protect the patients.
Addressing concerns that the plans to increase the quota by two-thousand is excessive, the vice minister said considering the number has been left unchanged for 19 years, the expansion has been deferred for too long.
As for claims that the government's announcement of the expansion ahead of April's general elections is politically motivated and that it will seek to negotiate the scope with the medical community post-election, Park said the policy only aims to improve public health care.
While he welcomed doctors to give criticism and raise concerns about the planned expansion, the vice minister however urged the medical community to refrain from any type of collective action that could risk patients' lives.
He said the government will seek medical reforms to improve working conditions at hospitals and asked trainee doctors to make the decision to stand by their patients.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.