More Doctors In South Korea Not To Join Strike By Community Doctors Next Week


(MENAFN- IANS) Seoul, June 14 (IANS) A growing number of doctors in South Korea have decided not to join a planned strike by community doctors next week, and the doctors' group said that they would not put patients at more risk.

The move came as the Korea Medical Association (KMA), a major lobby group for community doctors, is scheduled to take a day off next Tuesday, in support of a protracted walkout by trainee doctors against the government's medical reform, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Earlier in the day, a group of medical professors specialising in epilepsy announced their boycott of the planned strike.

"As the risk of physical damage and death increases significantly for patients suffering from epilepsy if their treatments are suspended, we can never cease the administration of medication," the group said in a statement.

"Medical students and trainee doctors should immediately return, and medical organisations should face the government based on scientific grounds and analysis," it added.

The Korea Obstetric Hospital Association and the Korea Children's Hospital Association also announced their boycott of the walkout, stressing the importance of protecting critical patients.

"We understand the protest by the KMA, but we cannot leave patients behind," the children's hospital group, which includes 120 hospitals as members, said in a separate statement.

The Korean Society of Anesthesiologists also said essential staff will remain at hospitals to continue treatment.

Patients' advocacy groups, meanwhile, welcomed a series of announcements expressing the boycott.

"We support and welcome the doctors' decision that sustains their basic duties," the Korea Severe Disease Association said in a statement, condemning the KMA for prioritising its interests over people's lives.

A union representing hospital workers also urged doctors to abandon their plan for a one-day walkout scheduled for next week.

"There is no cause or justification for the collective walkout of doctors," the Korean Health and Medical Workers' Union, which holds nurses and other related workers as members, said in a statement.

The union specifically criticised medical professors for joining the action instead of persuading junior doctors, who have left hospitals since February, to return.

Professors from the country's 40 medical schools have recently decided to join the general strike, although it remains unclear how many of the senior doctors will actually participate in the walkout.

Medical professors at four major hospitals affiliated with Seoul National University have also warned of an indefinite walkout starting Monday.

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IANS

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