Thousands of South Korean Doctors Strike Against Health Care Reform Plans

Thousands of South Korean doctors are participating in a nationwide strike to protest against the government’s health care reform program. The government plans to increase medical school admissions by 2,000 places per year to address a severe doctor shortage. However, doctors and their representatives argue that the focus should instead be on improving pay and working conditions. The strike action, which includes a significant number of private clinics and is expected to include university-affiliated hospitals, highlights a deepening conflict over the future of health care in South Korea.
  • Thousands of South Korean doctors are striking in protest against the government’s health care reform plans.
  • The government aims to increase medical school admissions by 2,000 annually to tackle a doctor shortage.
  • Doctors demand prioritization of better pay and working conditions over increasing the number of medical students.
  • About 20,000 doctors gathered near Parliament in Seoul for the protest.
  • Approximately 4% of the 36,000 private clinics closed to join the protest.
  • More than half of the medical professors at Seoul National University Hospitals began an indefinite strike, with other university-affiliated hospitals expected to join.
  • The strike, now in its fourth month, began with trainee doctors opposing the increase in medical student admissions planned for 2025.
  • Doctors argue that increasing the number of physicians does not adequately support essential medical sectors.
  • Nearly eight in 10 South Koreans oppose the doctor’s strike, concerned it will interrupt medical services.
  • South Korea has one of the lowest ratios of doctors per capita among developed countries and has not increased medical student numbers in over two decades.

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