More than 6,400 medical residents in South Korea have submitted their resignations

According to authorities on Tuesday, over 6,400 medical trainees have tendered their resignations in opposition to the South Korean government’s proposal to increase the number of medical students, which may cause delays in operations and medical care.

According to Yonhap news agency, Second Vice Health Minister Park Min-said in an interview with reporters that the ministry has instructed 831 trainee physicians to resume their duties.

The government’s intention to raise the number of students admitted to the nation’s medical schools by 2,000 in the next year caused a rift between physicians and the government.

About 1,600 of the 6,415 trainee physicians who filed their resignations at 100 hospitals up to Monday, according to Park, left their jobs.

In order to prepare for a possible interruption in medical services, Park said the government would extend operation hours at 97 public hospitals and open the emergency rooms at 12 military hospitals to the general public.

In order to alleviate the physician shortage, especially in rural regions and critical medical specialties including emergency medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, and high-risk surgery, the admission quota must be increased.

According to health officials, South Korea has one of the lowest proportions of physicians per capita in the industrialized world.

The physicians countered that the government hasn’t consulted them fully on the issue and that the decision would lower the standard of medical care and education.

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