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Gov't releases public statement urging doctors to open negotiations over healthcare reform Updated: 2020-08-13 10:00:56 KST

Doctors across South Korea have been calling for a strike to show their disapproval of government plans to expand medical school admissions quotas.
The government said that negotiations are still on the table and made a public statement just about an hour ago.
Our Kim Do-yeon is on the line with us to explain further.
Do-yeon, what is the government saying through its public statement?

Mark, first, the government expressed concerns over the strike and said it is still open to discussion.
Health minister Park Neung-hoo also said that the fundamental goals are the same for both the doctors and the government which include making sure that medically neglected areas have enough access to high quality medical care.
In addition, he said the government has plans in place to make sure the strike doesn't affect public safety.
The government has the power to order medical institutions to resume medical services if the percentage of closed services goes above 30-percent.

Now, Do-yeon, while the government is making efforts to start a discussion, the Korean Medical Association said it refuses to talk with the government and will proceed with the strike. What is the main issue at hand?

Mark, tomorrow will be the second strike and it will be even bigger than the first strike from last Friday.
This time around, the majority of local clinics plan to join the strike and close their services.
However, the KMA said medical practitioners whose services directly affect the lives of patients, such as those working in emergency rooms, intensive care units and delivery rooms, will not join the strike.
The KMA, which represents some 130-thousand doctors nationwide, is against the plan to expand admissions quotas for medical schools.
It claims that the real issue is not the number of doctors, but the lack of doctors in certain specialties and regions due to low medical fees and poor infrastructure.
That's all I have for you at this hour.
Back to you, Mark

Reporter : tkim@arirang.com
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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