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Doctor group's incoming head renews call for govt. to scrap medical school quota hike for dialogue

By Yonhap

Published : April 28, 2024 - 11:34

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Lim Hyun-taek, the president-elect of the Korean Medical Association, speaks during an event held in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap) Lim Hyun-taek, the president-elect of the Korean Medical Association, speaks during an event held in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)

The incoming head of South Korea's leading doctors' lobby group reiterated on Sunday the call for the government to scrap the planned medical school quota hike in order to initiate dialogue with the medical community.

About 12,000 trainee doctors have left their worksites since Feb. 20 in protest of the plan to boost the number of medical students by 2,000, causing delays in medical treatments, with some emergency rooms partially limiting their treatment of critically ill patients.

Lim Hyun-taek, the president-elect of the Korean Medical Association, pressed the government to fully scrap its proposed medical reform plans, including the medical school quota hike, in order to open a discussion with doctors from scratch.

"This is not a conflict between the medical community and the government. Rather, it is a unilateral abuse of power by the authorities," Lim said in a general meeting of the KMA in Seoul. "Otherwise, the medical community will not budge, and not respond to any call for negotiations."

A presidential committee on medical reform was formally launched on Thursday to seek a breakthrough over a prolonged walkout by doctors, but the KMA has been boycotting the initiative as well.

Lim, known for his hawkish stance in the ongoing stalemate with the government, is set to begin his official term starting on Wednesday.

Last week, the police conducted an additional raid on Lim, who is accused of having instigated collective resignations by junior doctors

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said it additionally seized Lim's mobile phone and sent investigators to his office in western Seoul and his residence in Asan, 83 kilometers south of Seoul.

The police seized Lim's phone in their previous raid in March, but it was confirmed to have been used by him in the past. (Yonhap)