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Hospitals Struggle as Trainee Doctors' Collective Action Enters Third Day

Written: 2024-02-22 10:10:58Updated: 2024-02-22 10:12:45

Hospitals Struggle as Trainee Doctors' Collective Action Enters Third Day

Photo : YONHAP News

Hospitals are struggling to maintain operations as collective action by trainee doctors over the government’s planned expansion of the medical school admissions quota entered its third day on Thursday. 

A significant number of the 740 trainee doctors at Seoul National University Hospital, one of the “Big Five” hospitals in Seoul, walked off their jobs after submitting their resignations. 

According to the health ministry’s website on emergency medical services, out of 26 emergency room beds at Seoul National University Hospital, just seven beds are available. It is considered cause for concern when the availability of emergency beds falls below 50% of the total.

The emergency room situation is better at the other four major hospitals -- Asan Medical Center, Samsung Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital and Severance Hospital, but the trainee doctors’ collective action is still taking its toll. 

These hospitals have postponed 30 to 50 percent of scheduled surgical procedures as a result of the trainee doctors’ walkout. 
 
As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, about 88-hundred out of the country’s 13-thousand trainee doctors had submitted their resignations, and seven-thousand-813 had walked off the job, causing disruptions in the provision of medical services.

The government has so far received a total of 92 reports of damages caused by the collective action, mostly cancellations of surgical procedures and doctor’s appointments.

Meanwhile, the Seoul Medical Association said it plans to hold a rally at 7 p.m. Thursday in front of the presidential office in protest of the government's plan to increase the medical school admissions quota.

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