Doctors at top Korean hospital to strike over medical student increase

By Park Sae-jin Posted : June 7, 2024, 14:30 Updated : June 7, 2024, 14:30
Yonhap Photo
Yonhap Photo
SEOUL, June 7 (AJU PRESS) - Doctors at Seoul National University Hospital, Korea's top medical institution, have decided to go on strike starting June 17, escalating their protest against the government's plan to sharply increase the enrollment of medical students.

The SNUH professors' emergency committee said Friday that SNUH and three affiliated hospitals will indefinitely stop providing all medical services except for emergency rooms and intensive care units.

The decision comes after the government sternly warned trainee doctors, who have been on walkout since February, to return to work or face consequences.

The SNUH committee demanded the government withdraw the order, which they say are dividing the striking junior doctors.

The walkout could spread to other hospitals as the Korea Medical Association, with 130,000 members, polls doctors through Saturday on whether to join the strike.

Since last year, the government has pushed to increase admissions at medical schools to improve services and prepare for rising demand as the population ages. 

The medical sector opposes the move, claiming it would lower education quality and fail to solve staffing shortages.

President Yoon Suk Yeol announced in October the plan to boost new student admissions starting in 2025. Resident doctors at university hospitals started a strike in February through mass resignations. 
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