Doctors’ organization to stage walkout

Jun 10, 2024, 09:01 am

print page small font big font

facebook share

tweet share

Prime Minister Han Duk-soo speaks during a briefing in Seoul on June 9, 2024./ Source: Yonhap

AsiaToday reporter Lee Seo-yeon 

South Korea’s top doctors’ organization plans to stage its fourth full-scale strike. It is the first time in four years since its previous strike in 2020. The confrontation between the government and the medical community is likely to further intensify, coupled with the announcement of a strike by Seoul Medical University and hospitals last Thursday. In response to the decision by the medical organization, patients and civic groups criticized the medical body’s decision calling for withdrawal of the collective action plan.

The Korean Medical Association (KMA) -- the largest doctors’ group with some 140,000 members -- said on Sunday that 90.6 percent of its members, or 64,139 members, were in favor of the strike, and 73.5 percent said they would participate during a meeting it held to disclose the outcome of a recent vote on staging the walkout. Some 70,800 of the 111,860 voters participated in the survey.

“The government and the ruling party have sacrificed the medical community for decades under the chronic low prices and distorted medical system to maintain the regime and win the general elections, and even demonized the medical community as a public enemy,” Lim Hyun-taek, who heads the KMA, said. “Medical students and doctors are not moving to the irresponsible government, which only insists on increasing the number of medical school admissions by 2,000 without any grounds and passing the responsibility for the medical crisis to hospitals,” he said.

While the KMA has decided to stage a walkout, the government has once again expressed its willingness to carry out with the medical reform in accordance with principles. “Medical reform is a task of the times that cannot be delayed any longer,” Prime Minister Han Duk-soo said in a briefing. “Collective walkouts not only place heavy burdens on the emergency medical system but also scar society,” he added. “The government will persuade the medical community to the last minute so that the general strike and the walkout will not become a reality.”

Meanwhile, an official from the Korean Health and Medical worker’s Union stressed, “It is not the time for doctors to fight against patients and the people, but to stand on the side of the patients and the people, and gather strength and wisdom to come with the correct medica reform plan.”

#KMA #strike 
Copyright by Asiatoday