In the midst of ongoing clashes with the medical community, Korea’s interior minister announced that the government is open to changing its medical school admissions policy if a better proposal is presented. During a government response meeting on April 3rd, Interior Minister Lee Sang-min emphasized that government policies are always open to change if stronger opinions are given with reasonable reasoning. He also emphasized the government’s commitment to health reform and protecting people’s health and lives.

The minister urged interns to return to work and assured them that their opinions would be taken seriously as they continue to care for patients. Many major hospitals in South Korea have scaled back operations and services due to staff shortages since February last year, following the resignation of most intern doctors in protest.

While there is no clear indication that the government has reversed its decision to increase medical school enrollment targets, it remains open to negotiations with doctors to find a unified and reasonable solution. The strike by medical interns has had a significant impact on the healthcare system in Korea, with medical professors at university hospitals reducing their working hours and some tertiary hospitals curtailing services due to staff shortages.

More than 90% of the country’s trainee doctors have been on strike since February 20, protesting the government’s plan to increase medical school enrollment quotas by 2,000. This initiative aims to address the aging population and increase the number of healthcare workers in vital areas. However, striking doctors claim that this move will threaten the quality of education and medical services, leading to an oversupply of doctors. They suggest that officials should focus on increasing compensation and rewards for doctors to ensure their safety in the industry.

The ongoing dispute between the government and the medical community highlights the challenges facing the healthcare sector in Korea and underscores the need for joint solutions

By Samantha Johnson

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