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Doctors end 2-week strike, seek more talks over key issues

All News 08:33 September 04, 2020

SEOUL, Sept. 4 (Yonhap) -- Thousands of junior doctors on Friday ended their two-week strike in protest against the government's medical reform scheme after a group of representative doctors reached an agreement with the government and the ruling Democratic Party (DP).

Under the agreement, interns and residents, as well as some fellow doctors at general hospitals across the country and those belonging to the Korean Intern and Resident Association (KIRA), will resume their work at 9:30 a.m.

Some 200 professors at Pusan National University Hospital in Busan stage a protest against the government's legal action against striking trainee doctors on Sept. 3, 2020, in this photo provided by the hospital. Medical trainees nationwide have continued to go on strike since Aug. 7, calling for the government to scrap its plan to expand the number of students at medical schools. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The two sides reached the five-point agreement that includes putting on hold the government plan to increase medical school admission quotas and will discuss the issue once again when the novel coronavirus outbreak eases.

The agreement also called for more talks between the medical sector and the health authorities over a variety of issues ranging from the setup of a public medical school to health insurance coverage.

Thousands of trainee doctors working at general hospitals began the strike on Aug. 21 to protest the government's medical reform scheme calling for an expansion of admission quotas at medical schools by 4,000 over the next 10 years, starting in 2022.

The Korean Medical Association (KMA), which represents some 130,000 doctors across the country, has backed the move, with staff members and major hospitals also siding with trainee doctors and medical students, despite the government's back-to-work orders.

They have also objected to the creation of new public medical institutions that can cater to the needs of rural areas and the provision of more medical insurance coverage for oriental medicine treatment.


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