South Korean trainee doctors' walkout strengthens as new graduates decline internships


(MENAFN) A continuing walkout protest led by South Korean trainee doctors, which has already inflicted strain on the country's healthcare system, is anticipated to escalate further as recent medical graduates reportedly reject internship offers, as per local media reports on Sunday.

The decision by these new graduates to join the widespread protest against the government's proposal to increase the number of medical students is expected to compound the mounting pressure on authorities, as highlighted by a Seoul-based news outlet.

The refusal of internship positions has been noted among 188 candidates at prominent hospitals including Chonnam National University Hospital, Jeju National University Hospital, Pusan National University Hospital, and Soonchunhyang University Cheonan Hospital.

The ramifications of the ongoing protests continue to reverberate across hospitals in South Korea, as the large-scale walkout by trainee doctors enters its sixth consecutive day. The unrest originated on Tuesday when thousands of junior doctors, including trainees, submitted mass resignations in opposition to the government's initiative to admit an additional 2,000 students to medical schools in the coming year.

Presently, South Korea allocates spots for 3,058 students in medical programs. The persistent disruptions have led major hospitals to experience delays in their operations, compelling even critically ill patients to seek treatment at smaller medical facilities.

In response to the shortage of on-duty doctors, some hospitals have had to adjust their intensive care unit schedules, reducing shifts from three to two. This adjustment underscores the challenges faced by healthcare institutions amid the ongoing protests by medical professionals.

Additionally, the government has expanded healthcare hours, along with implementing other measures, to "minimize the impact of the move on the health and lives of the people."

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