South Korea’s Health ministry appeals to defiant trainee doctors for talks

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Seoul, March 27 (IANS) South Korea’s health ministry on Wednesday appealed to defiant junior doctors to come forward for talks with the government, as a prolonged walkout by trainee doctors has crippled major hospitals for more than five weeks.

Second Vice Health Minister Park Min-soo urged defiant trainee doctors to “form a responsible delegation and come to the dialogue table with the government”, Yonhap news agency reported.

Despite the government’s repeated appeals for talks, trainee doctors have refused to do so, citing a lack of their representatives, according to ministry officials.

About 12,000 interns and resident doctors have remained off the job since February 20 in protest of the push to hike the number of medical students, forcing surgeries and other public health services to be cancelled or delayed at major hospitals.

In support of junior doctors’ labour action, medical professors, who are senior doctors at major university hospitals, have also begun tendering their resignations, starting this week.

Park said the government will provide more fiscal policy support for public healthcare systems next year, including financial support for trainee doctors, the report said.



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