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Gov't Raises Health Alert to Highest Level, Takes Divisive Measures amid Trainee Doctors' Collective Action

Written: 2024-02-23 15:50:36Updated: 2024-02-23 18:54:38

Gov't Raises Health Alert to Highest Level, Takes Divisive Measures amid Trainee Doctors' Collective Action

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: The government has raised its health care service crisis status to the highest level of “serious” after thousands of doctors walked off the job this week to protest against a government plan to raise the medical school admissions quota. The government on Friday came up with a series of measures to mitigate the impact on the health and lives of the people.
Our Yun Sohyang has more. 

Report: The Ministry of Health and Welfare made the decision Thursday night to raise the health care service crisis status to the highest level of “serious” starting at 8 a.m. Friday, explaining that the collective action of the trainee doctors' group is increasingly threatening the health and lives of the people. 

This is the first time that the government has put the nation under the top-level alert mode due to a medical service issue. 

Under the elevated crisis level, the government's response to the collective action is being overseen by the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters headed by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo. 

Han on Friday held a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, saying that in response to the elevated crisis level, the government will extend the operating hours of all public health care institutions to the fullest extent possible on weekdays, and expand services for consultations on weekends and public holidays.
 
He also said the government will create metropolitan emergency situation offices overseeing the transport and transfers of intensive care patients and emergency cases early next month in four regions to ensure those in need can receive timely treatment.

In addition, it was announced on Friday that the government will fully allow the use of telemedicine services until the interns and residents end their collective action during a press briefing by second vice health minister Park Min-soo. Hospitals will also be given financial support to hire more temporary workers.
 
Additionally, on site local inspections of emergency medical institutions are being made. Interior and safety minister Lee Sang-min on Friday visited the Gimcheon Medical Center in the North Gyeongsang region to inspect the local emergency medical system in preparation for the influx of patients to public medical institutions. 

According to the health ministry, as of 10 p.m. Thursday, nearly nine-thousand or almost 80 percent of trainee doctors nationwide had reportedly submitted their resignations and 78-hundred of them had left their workplaces in protest of the government’s plan to increase the medical school admissions quota. 
Yun Sohyang, KBS World Radio News.

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