• Doctors Strike Against Govt's Medical Reform Plan

A woman stares at a board in the lobby of a medical building that shows many clinics are closed as doctors launch a one-day strike on August 14, 2020, against the South Korean government's medical reform plan.
A woman stares at a board in the lobby of a medical building that shows many clinics are closed as doctors launch a one-day strike on August 14, 2020, against the South Korean government's medical reform plan.
Doctors in South Korea launched a one-day strike on Friday in protest of the government's medical reform plan.

The walkout, organized by the Korea Medical Association, includes practitioners at small clinics as well as general hospital residents and interns.

Health authorities said they expected no major disruptions, as hospitals mobilized alternative health workers, while doctors in vital departments, such as intensive care units and emergency rooms remained on normal duty.

Last week, trainee doctors launched a separate one-day walkout in opposition of the reform plan, arguing that expanding medical school admission quotas and openeing a new public medical school will only lead to more competition and widen regional gaps in medical infrastructure.

Doctors are also against the inclusion of traditional oriental medicine in the public health insurance system, as they consider the field to be less scientific and vital.

Earlier this week, the health ministry said it was open to talks with the medical association, but could not delay the reform scheme.

As of noon, 10,584, or 31.3 percent, of clinics across the nation closed their doors, according to the ministry.

This marks the third major medical strike over the last two decades, with the last held in 2014.

<Photo: Yonhap News>

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