Will doctors strike again amid unsolved license issue?

30-Oct-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The Korea Medical Association (KMA) urged the government, Thursday, to come up with measures to give medical students another opportunity to take the state medical licensing exam, warning they are poised to launch another strike.

Doctors and the government are still at odds over whether to give fourth-year medical students another opportunity to take the state medical licensing exam. The KMA has set a deadline for resolving the issue. However, the government has been sticking to its position that there is little need to discuss the possibility of an additional exam unless there is a “society-wide consensus.”

“If the government does not come up with measures for the issue by October 28, we will take special measures on October 29,” KMA President Choi Dae-zip said at a regular meeting of the association on the 25th.

The association is cautious about the possibility of staging immediate group action. In an interview on Wednesday, Choi declined to comment on the possibility of a collective action, citing his remarks can cause inconvenience for patients.

The medical community led to a full-scale re-discussion on the government’s medical reform policies, including expansion of medical school student quotas, through a coordinated walkout by trainee doctors carried out in August. But while an agreement was reached, it also faced internal strife with hardliners within the Korean Intern Resident Association (KIRA).

Most trainee doctors, such as interns and residents, at general hospitals ended their collective action and returned to work, following an agreement with the government to put the reform plan on hold, but doctors have continued to demand that the government allow medical students to retake the medical licensing exam.

Nearly 90 percent of test-takers boycotted the state exam in protest of the government’s plan.

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, public opinion doesn’t seem to be favourable to another collective action of the medical community.

However, the association also believes that it is difficult not to demand action from the government. Although it was difficult to take a large-scale group action as in the past, it is inevitable for them to resort to strong measures.

The medical community, including the KMA and presidents of university hospitals, has repeatedly raised their voices calling for a second chance for the medical students. In particular, presidents of some of the country’s largest university hospitals ? Korea University Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Yonsei University Health System and Inha University Hospital ? jointly relayed a public apology, early this month, on behalf of their students’ strike in the summer, while imploring the government to offer another chance for senior students to take the national medical licensing exam.

The government, however, repeated its earlier stance.

“The agreement between the KMA and the government is already open to the public and does not include an additional exam for the medical students,” health ministry spokesman Sohn Young-rae said during a recent regular briefing.



Category: Korea

Print This Post

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.