Doctors should end collective action, return to patients

2024.03.07 10:00:02 | 2024.03.07 10:15:41

[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]

A growing number of medical students and residents in South Korea have started to raise concerns over the mass walkout by trainee doctors protesting against the government‘s proposal to expand medical school admissions to help deal with the country’s rapidly-aging society.

The concerns should not be ignored by the government and protestors and they should work together to bring the stalemate to an end.

In an Instagram account named “Medical Students and Trainee Doctors with Different Perspectives,” some participants in the protest said their action was not their conscious choice.

“I‘ve been forced to take the spring semester off to join the protest,” according to a medical student at a local university who asked for anonymity.

“Medical communities, including colleges and hospitals, are so much restricted and closed that different opinion is considered hostile,” the student said.

A cardiothoracic surgical resident who asked to be unnamed also posted on Instagram that “there has been lack of discussion among all of us about whether walking off the job with no notice was the right choice.”

Joo Soo-ho, the chief spokesperson of the Korea Medical Association (KMA), a doctor’s representative group, said, ”The walkout was inevitable given the ‘murderously’ cheap medical reimbursement from the national health care insurance“ and urged the government to renounce its ”stubbornness“ and negotiate.

The government, however, remains steadfast in its commitment to a stringent response to the strike.

”The authorities have to take legal and administrative measures against the doctors‘ illegal labor action, which puts people’s lives at risk,“ President Yoon Suk Yeol said in a government-level meeting.

The prolonged disruption in medical services, triggered by the mass walkout, will take a toll on people‘s lives. Doctors must stop their unjustifiable protest and return to work and patients.

By Editorial Team

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