S. Korea expected to announce steps against defiant trainee doctors this week

Seoul, July 7 (IANS) The South Korean government is expected to announce measures to deal with trainee doctors who refuse to return to hospitals in protest of medical reform as early as this week, officials said on Sunday.

The government is set to announce its measures on the junior doctors, who have left their worksites since late February, as early as Monday, according to government officials.

Health Minister Cho Kyoo-hong earlier pledged to introduce such measures in early July, as hospitals need to prepare for the recruitment of new junior doctors who will begin training in September, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The government has currently decided to halt the suspension of medical licences of those who return to work.

As of Thursday, 1,104 junior doctors, or 8 per cent of 13,756 trainee doctors, were on duty at the country’s 211 training hospitals, according to government data.

Trainee doctors have been on strike for nearly five months in protest against a hike in medical student admissions, the first such increase in 27 years, which was finalised in May.

The government initially instructed hospitals to not accept trainee doctors’ resignations to prevent them from seeking other jobs but reversed this order in late June to normalise operations.

As the protracted walkout by trainee doctors has shown little signs of ending, medical professors, who also serve as senior doctors at general hospitals, began staging walkouts and other forms of protest.



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