South Korea deploys military reinforcements to hospitals hit by doctors’ strike

South Korea said it would deploy military doctors and doctors from public health centers to hospitals where trainee doctors have been on strike for weeks over government reform plans.

According to international media reports, Health Minister Cho Kyu-hong said at a meeting that about 20 military surgeons and 138 public health doctors will be sent to 20 hospitals for four weeks.

The number of medics called upon to help so far represents only a fraction of the approximately 2,400 medics on the force, according to a Defense Department briefing.

About 12,000 trainee doctors in 100 hospitals went on strike on February 20 to protest against the government’s plan to increase the number of places in medical schools to address shortages caused by a rapidly aging population.

As a result of this action, some hospitals have had to turn away patients and postpone medical procedures.

Authorities have been trying to persuade doctors to return to work by warning them that their medical licenses could be revoked, but the threat appears to have had little effect.

On Monday, the health ministry said it had issued administrative notices to thousands of trainee doctors, the first step in revoking doctors’ medical licenses, for violating specific orders requiring them to return to hospitals.

“As of March 8 [notifications] More than 4,900 trainee doctors have been dispatched,” Chun Byung-wang, director of the Health and Medical Policy Department of the Ministry of Health, told reporters.

The government had previously warned medical staff that their licenses would be suspended for three months, a penalty it said would delay their qualifications as specialists by at least a year. Chun urged them to return to their patients.

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“If trainee doctors return to work before the administrative measures are completed, the government will consider the specific circumstances and protect them,” he said. Doctors who return to work now can avoid penalties, he said.

“The government will not give up dialogue. The door to dialogue is always open…The government will respect and listen to the opinions of the medical community as a partner in health care reform.”

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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