Faced with growing desperation in South Korea, amid a prolonged strike by trainee doctors, patients have criticized health workers for planning a broader strike again and urged the Government to enact a law to prevent the recurrence of collective actions by medical personnel.

A total of 92 patient associations made the call during a joint press conference in front of the National Assembly in Seoul, after the Korea Medical Association (KMA), a major group of pressure from doctors, decided to go on strike on June 18, in an action that could involve community doctors and medical professors.

Senior doctors from four major SNU-affiliated hospitals have vowed to indefinitely suspend hospital operations from June 17 in support of striking trainee doctors.

Medical crisis in South Korea: government warns of harsh measures against doctors’ strikes

Concerns and demands during the Medical Strike in South Korea

“We express our deep concern over the planned strike by the KMA and the decision to indefinitely suspend hospital operations by professors at Seoul National University Hospital,” the groups announced in a joint statement.

They also commented that in recent months patients have suffered greatly due to the prolonged lack of medical services and that they are waiting for a solution.

Patient groups also criticized doctors at hospitals affiliated with Seoul National University (SNU) for asking patients to postpone bookings for medical treatment.

The Government has also been required to legalize the use of medical assistance personnel in hospitals during emergency situations in order to minimize harm to citizens and to enact a law to ensure the normal functioning of essential medical services.

While there have been attempts to amend the medical law, which prohibits physician assistants from working in such crucial fields as pediatrics, obstetrics and emergency medicine, no progress has been made.

Despite fierce opposition, the Government last month finalized the increase in the admission quota for medical schools – by around 1,500 places – in an effort to address the shortage of doctors. It was the first increase of its kind in 27 years.

Source: https://reporteasia.com/salud/2024/06/14/los-pacientes-en-corea-del-sur-imploran-a-los-doctores-que-descarten-su-huelga-planeada/

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