Connect with us


South Korean government takes legal action against 7,000 trainee doctors

South Korean Government takes action against 7,000 defiant trainee doctors, threatening license suspension for a minimum of three months. Despite warnings, 8,945 doctors have left, with only 565 returning.



South Korea's doctors walk out

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: The South Korean government has initiated legal action against approximately 7,000 trainee doctors who have refused to return to work, announcing the suspension of their licenses for a minimum of three months.

Second Vice Health Minister Park Min-soo addressed the situation during a briefing on Monday (4 Mar), emphasizing that those defying the government’s return-to-work orders would be officially notified of their license suspension on Tuesday.

Health authorities have begun conducting on-site investigations at 50 training hospitals to ascertain the precise number of trainee doctors who have not returned to work.

“If the ministry verifies the absence of trainee doctors, our plan is to notify them in advance of the suspension, starting tomorrow,” he stated.

Park highlighted that the suspension could potentially postpone trainee doctors’ progression to becoming medical specialists by over a year due to unmet training period requirements.

Additionally, he cautioned that the administrative disciplinary action might adversely impact their employability.

This move follows the government’s final appeal last week to trainee doctors protesting the planned hike in medical school enrollment quotas, stating that they would not be held accountable if they returned to work.

The government issued a stern ultimatum on 26 February, mandating the return of protesting doctors by the end of the month or face punitive measures.

The ongoing protest, led by two-thirds of the nation’s residents and intern doctors, emerged in response to a government proposal to increase medical school admissions to address a projected doctor shortage in the rapidly aging society.

The week-long protest has severely disrupted healthcare services at major hospitals, resulting in patients being turned away and critical procedures being canceled.

According to the Health Ministry, a total of 8,945 trainee doctors at 100 training hospitals have left their positions, with only 565 having returned to work as of last Thursday (29 Feb).

The Health Ministry announced on Tuesday (5 Mar) that it is contemplating filing a criminal complaint with the police against certain trainee doctors who allegedly orchestrated a mass walkout.

Despite the government’s directive to return to work and warnings of potential suspension of medical licenses, the protest continues.

Park informed reporters that the ministry is also considering filing a police complaint, with a focus on those trainee doctors who are believed to be leading the labor action.

However, Park clarified that no decision has been reached regarding the timing of the government filing a police complaint against the protesting doctors.

The consequences for doctors failing to comply with government orders include the potential suspension of their medical licenses for up to a year.

Additionally, they could face three years in prison or a fine of 30 million won ($22,480).

The government is actively exploring punitive measures to address the ongoing situation and bring an end to the mass walkout by junior doctors.

Share this post via:
Continue Reading
Click to comment
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments