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Over 10,000 Trainee Doctors Resign, Gov't Sets Thurs. as Return-to-Work Deadline

Written: 2024-02-26 15:04:33Updated: 2024-02-26 15:56:25

Over 10,000 Trainee Doctors Resign, Gov't Sets Thurs. as Return-to-Work Deadline

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: More than ten-thousand trainee doctors have tendered their resignations over the past week in protest of the government's plan to increase the medical school admissions quota. Amid rising concerns of a prolonged medical vacuum, the government has set Thursday as the deadline for the doctors to return to work without facing legal consequences.
Choi You Sun reports.

Report: A week has passed since the nation's trainee doctors resigned en masse in protest of the government's planned expansion of the medical school admissions quota, resulting in continued reports of delayed surgeries and canceled patient consultations at the so-called "Big Five" general hospitals in Seoul.

Stating that the threat to patients' lives and well-being from the collective action has become a reality, the government on Monday issued an ultimatum for the doctors to return to work by Thursday or face criminal punishment.

Presiding over a meeting with officials, interior minister Lee Sang-min said the government was making its final appeal, stating it will not hold to account doctors who return to their duties by Thursday.

The offer follows a previous announcement of plans to punish the trainee doctors over their decision to resign en masse, threatening the practitioners with the revocation of their licenses, detention and criminal investigations.

Chung Jin-haeng, head of an emergency committee representing professors at Seoul National University's medical school, issued a strong outcry during a news briefing, urging the government to take responsibility for damaging the democracy of the nation.

The emergency panel, which met with a group of trainee doctors on Monday, called for dialogue with the government, saying that persuasion, rather than intimidation, would be more effective in ending the collective action.

As of 7 p.m. last Friday, the health ministry's inspection of data from 100 major teaching hospitals found that ten-thousand-34 or just over 80 percent of resident doctors had submitted their resignations, with over nine-thousand having left their jobs.

Medical students in the country are taking similar action in apparent protest of the quota expansion, with 12-thousand-674, or more than 67 percent of medical students nationwide, having applied for a leave of absence as of Sunday.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News

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