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S. Korea launches presidential committee on medical reform amid protest

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S. Korea launches presidential committee on medical reform amid protest

Seoul, April 25 (Ajit Weekly News) South Korea, on Thursday, formally launched a presidential committee on medical reform to seek a breakthrough over the prolonged walkout by doctors, as their labour action has disrupted public health services for more than two months now.

Prospects for the committee, however, are uncertain as representatives from senior and trainee doctors have refused to join it while demanding the government revisit the medical school admissions issue from scratch, Yonhap news agency reported.

“Medical reform is a task that can no longer be delayed,” Noh Yun-hong, who heads the committee, told the first meeting of the committee.

“We aim to narrow down the differences by communicating with stakeholders, and publicise the conflicts and issues,” Noh said.

“We hope that junior doctors and doctors’ organisations, as stakeholders in medical reform, participate in the committee to share ideas.”

About 12,000 trainee doctors have left their worksites since February 20 in protest of the plan to boost the number of medical students by 2,000.

The committee comprises 20 experts from the private sector, recommended by 10 medical organisations and five patient advocacy groups, as well as the leaders of six government agencies.

Meanwhile, medical professors at major hospitals were set to resign on Thursday, and have a day off next week as they have been stretched thin amid the prolonged walkout by trainee doctors.

The move by medical professors, who are senior doctors at major hospitals, is likely to deepen concerns over further disruptions in the country’s healthcare system, the report said.

–Ajit Weekly News

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