South Korea Faces Deepening Healthcare Crisis as Doctors and Professors Escalate Protests

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Seoul, South Korea – A month-long standoff between the South Korean government and doctors has taken a dramatic turn as medical school professors join the protest, threatening to exacerbate the already strained healthcare system.

Doctors on Strike, Professors Resigning

Over 90% of the country’s trainee doctors have been effectively on strike through mass resignations. They oppose the government’s plan to increase medical school enrollment by 2,000 seats, fearing a decline in education quality and a future physician surplus.

Professors Follow Suit

In a show of solidarity, professors nationwide are tendering resignations and limiting patient care starting today. They aim to prioritize inpatients and emergencies while pressuring the government to negotiate.

Government Responds with License Suspensions

The government remains firm on its stance. They are suspending licenses of striking doctors who missed a deadline to return to work. Additionally, they plan to deploy more military doctors and recruit retired physicians to manage the crisis.

Patients Caught in the Middle

The situation has critically impacted patients, particularly those with chronic conditions. Associations representing critically ill patients have pleaded for both sides to find a solution, highlighting the danger of limited medical care.

Underlying Issues Remain

While the government seeks to address doctor shortages in rural areas and essential specialties, doctors argue for better working conditions, protection from lawsuits, and incentives to practice in less popular fields.

Uncertain Future for Healthcare

With no clear resolution in sight, South Korea faces a challenging healthcare future. The quality of care, access to services, and patient safety are all at stake.

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