Med professors to resign starting March 25 – The Korea Herald

webnexttech | Med professors to resign starting March 25 - The Korea Herald

South Korea’s healthcare system faces yet another challenge as medical professors announce they will submit their resignations autonomously starting March 25, ending their involvement in patient care and surgical procedures. The medical professors, often juggling dual roles as physicians in hospitals, have filled the void left by trainee doctors to mitigate disruptions in medical services following a month-long period of junior doctors’ walkout in protest of the government’s expansion plan. March 25 is also the deadline for trainee doctors to submit their opinions on license suspensions for defying the government’s return-to-work orders. The decision comes after the emergency committee — comprising medical professors from 20 medical schools — held an online meeting late Friday on whether to take collective action. Of the 20 medical universities, 16 schools were overwhelmingly in favor of submitting resignation letters, while the remaining four schools were still collecting opinions on whether to join the move. The names of the schools have not been revealed. The professor’s group on Saturday said the medical circle could find a middle ground if the government backs down on adding 2,000 more seats to medical school admissions from the current 3,508, as both sides are holding hard lines. “The reason (why) professors are submitting their resignations despite heavy criticism (from the public) is because of their will to resolve the situation quickly,” said Bang Jae-seung, who heads the emergency committee of medical school professors, in a press conference Saturday. “(Our) decision to leave our schools and hospitals comes with a heavy heart. But this choice is a last resort for (medical) experts to improve and direct essential health care sectors in a better direction,” he noted. However, Bang said medical professors will remain in their positions until their resignation process is complete. More medical professors will likely follow in pressuring the government to seek a breakthrough by submitting their resignations. The emergency response committee of professors at Kangwon National University’s medical school agreed Saturday to individually step down from their posts if the government does not come to a dialogue with doctors. The majority of medical professors at Ajou University, Jeonbuk National University, Wonkwang University, and Konyang University responded in their internal surveys that they supported the decision to take action, according to reports citing education and health authorities. Professors at Pusan National University plan to conduct a survey this week, as well as to determine the specific date and method of submitting their resignations, reports added. Earlier last week, the Medical Professors Association of Korea — a coalition of professors from 33 medical schools — issued a statement that the group would take collective action “if any damage is inflicted” on trainee doctors or medical students, as the government shows little sign of backing down from the planned hike, as well as taking action against those who have left their workplaces and classrooms. A total of 11,999 trainee doctors at 100 training hospitals, or 92.9 percent of the total, have remained off their jobs as of Thursday, according to the Health Ministry. The government has sent license suspension notices to some 9,000 junior doctors as part of its disciplinary action against them. Meanwhile, the Medical Women’s International Association issued a statement over the weekend that it stands strongly with the Korean Medical Women’s Association. “Vice Health Minister Park Min-soo stated clearly in his policy briefing that the increasing proportion of female doctors and the difference in the working hours between male and female doctors were the important factors he considered when making the policy decision to increase medical school enrollments by 2,000 students per year,” it read. “His official statement as a high-level government official was perceived as dismissive and demeaning to the professionalism and hard work of female medical doctors and caused widespread disappointment and distress among female medical practitioners at all levels.”

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