Health Ministry Downplays Likelihood of Nationwide Doctors’ Strike Amid Growing Grievances

SEOUL — The South Korean government has stated that a nationwide strike by doctors over disputes on medical school enrollment quota increases seems unlikely, despite recent moves by trainee doctors and medical school students towards collective action. The health ministry announced on Thursday that while there has been warning of a massive strike and other responses by doctors against the government's decision to increase the medical school enrollment quota by 2,000 seats next year, the likelihood of such a strike materializing appears slim.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the government is committed to ensuring that the life and health of the people are not threatened by such actions. The government has decided not to alter the plan's scale and timing, despite the opposition. It has also vowed to improve working conditions for trainee doctors, who have threatened collective resignation, and has ordered training hospitals to reject resignation letters from residents, emphasizing that doctors are essential workers required to return to work under an administrative order.

The government's decision to increase the medical enrollment quota is aimed at addressing a shortage of doctors in rural areas and essential medical fields. However, doctors argue that the government has not fully consulted on the matter and that the increase would compromise the quality of medical education and services. Protests and rallies have been held across the country by doctors affiliated with the Korean Medical Association, criticizing the government's decision and calling for its reversal.

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