Sunday, 19 May 2024
WorldThreat of Arrest for Thousands of South Korean Doctors Who Resign Massively

Threat of Arrest for Thousands of South Korean Doctors Who Resign Massively


The South Korean (South Korean) government has threatened to arrest thousands of doctors in the country. The reason is because nearly 10,000 young doctors or around 80% of resident doctors in South Korea submitted their resignation notices and left their jobs last week.

They did this to protest the government’s plan to drastically increase medical school admissions to overcome the workforce shortage in an increasingly aging society.

South Korea has one of the lowest doctor-to-patient ratios among developed countries, and the government is currently working hard to admit 2,000 more students to medical school every year starting next year.



According to doctors, the government’s plan will damage the quality of health services in South Korea.

Meanwhile, supporters of the plan say doctors are deeply concerned that the reforms could erode their salaries and social status.

This mass resignation action by young doctors in South Korea has resulted in many operations, chemotherapy and Caesarean sections being canceled and postponed, forcing the government to raise the public health alert status to the highest level.

Threat of arrest and suspension of practice license

Under South Korean law, doctors are prohibited from going on strike, and the government has threatened to arrest and suspend practice permits for doctors who refuse to return to work by the deadline on Thursday (29/02).

“If young doctors returned to work today, we would not hold them responsible,” said South Korean Health Minister Cho Kyoo-hong, in an interview with local radio SBS on Thursday (29/02) morning local time.

According to Cho, several resident doctors who took part in the strike have returned to work at their respective hospitals. However, he acknowledged that doctors returning to work “has not yet materialized on a full scale.”

“Because today is the deadline for doctors to return to work, I implore them to come back for the patients,” said Cho.

Earlier on Tuesday (27/02), the South Korean Ministry of Health had requested that the police launch an investigation into people related to the strike, including five people associated with the Korean Medical Association (KMA).

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