South Korea Expresses Regret Over Medical Professors' Plan For Weekly Day Off


(MENAFN- IANS) Seoul, April 24 (IANS) South Korea's health
ministry on Wednesday expressed regret over medical professors' decision to take a weekly day off starting next week and urged them to engage in dialogue rather than resort to collective action amid the prolonged medical vacuum in the country.

On the previous day, an emergency committee of medical professors vowed to have a day off next week, claiming their fatigue has reached the utmost limit amid a prolonged walkout by trainee doctors, Yonhap news agency reported.

"The government
expresses regret over the decision by medical professors to take a weekly day off while vowing to resign as scheduled," Second Vice Health Minister
Park Min-soo told reporters.

About 12,000 trainee doctors have left their worksites since February 20 in protest of the government
's plan to boost the number of medical students, forcing major hospitals to delay or cancel surgeries and other public health
services.

In support of the walkout by junior doctors, medical professors submitted their resignations last month as well. Park urged the medical professors to approach the negotiation table with a rational and unified proposal, emphasising that the government
has made efforts, including accommodating a request from the heads of national universities for flexibility in expanding the medical school enrollment quota.

Under the decision announced last week that is largely considered a compromise, universities will be permitted to increase their admission quotas freely, with the range of annual increase ranging between 50 per cent and 100 per cent.

"The government
is open to holding one-on-one discussions with the medical community, including the emergency committee of medical professors, and will continue making efforts to seek communication," Park added.

While some professors vowed to begin stepping down Thursday, a month after submitting letters of resignation in collective action, Park reiterated that the resignations will not be processed automatically.

"According to education authorities, there are no instances where resignation letters have been officially submitted to universities for processing," the second vice health
minister said.

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IANS

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