South Korean govt to increase admission quotas at medical schools by May

Health |  IANS  | Published :

Seoul, March 26 (IANS) The South Korean government will complete follow-up measures for increased enrollment quotas at medical schools by May, a senior official said on Tuesday, in a fresh sign that it will not back down from the reform push despite a fierce protest by the medical community.

Second Vice Health Minister Park Min-soo told reporters that the increased quotas will be applied to details of admission procedures by each university by the end of May, Yonhap news agency reported.

"The government will complete follow-up measures within May without a hitch," Park was quoted as saying.

About 12,000 interns and resident doctors have remained off the job since February 20 in protest of the push to hike the number of medical students, forcing surgeries and other public health services to be cancelled or delayed at major hospitals.

Despite the labour action by junior doctors, the government allocated an additional 2,000 admission seats to universities last week. Senior doctors said they would not sit down for talks with the government unless the push is scrapped.

In support of junior doctors' labour action, medical professors, who are senior doctors at major university hospitals, have begun tendering their resignations since Monday.

Although prospects for talks with the medical community are uncertain, Park called for doctors to hold talks with the government "without conditions", the report said.

Park urged doctors to "engage in dialogue with a sincere attitude and without conditions. That is the way for the people."

There are media reports that some medical professors or junior doctors coerced their peers to join the labour action.

Park said the government will take protective measures for doctors who remain at work, the report said.

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