South Korean president meets with doctors’ strike leader as he seeks to end their strikes | Trending Viral hub

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Seoul, South Korea. SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol met Thursday with the leader of a strike by thousands of young doctors and said the government is open to talks about his controversial initiative to increase medical school admissions dramatically.

The meeting was the first of its kind since more than 90% of the country’s 13,000 doctors-in-training walked off the job in February, disrupting hospital operations. But there were still no immediate reports of progress after the meeting.

During a lengthy televised public speech on Monday, Yoon defended his plan to recruit 2,000 more medical students each year, from the current limit of 3,058. But she said her administration remains open to talks if the doctors present a unified proposal that gives logical reasons for their calls for a much smaller increase in the registration fee.

On Thursday, Yoon met with Park Dan, head of an emergency committee of the Korean Internal Residents Association, for more than two hours, during which “the president said he would respect the position of doctors in training in case of talks with the medical circle on medical reform issues, including an increase in doctors,” according to Yoon’s office.

He did not say whether the government plans immediate talks with doctors and whether Yoon’s comments would mean he is willing to reduce the size of his medical school admissions increase proposal. The strikers earlier demanded that the government withdraw the plan to increase admission by 2,000 students.

in a short Facebook In a message posted after the meeting, Park wrote that “there is no future for the ROK medical service” without elaborating. Repeated calls to Park went unanswered. Another striker, Ryu Ok Hada, previously accused Park of unilaterally meeting with Yoon without the approval of her fellow strikers.

During the meeting, Yoon also heard Park’s views on problems facing South Korea’s medical system, and the two exchanged views on how to improve working conditions for medical interns and residents, Yoon’s office said in a statement. .

Yoon has said the enrollment increase of 2,000 students is the minimum necessary, given that South Korea has one of the world’s fastest aging populations and its doctor-patient ratio is the lowest among advanced economies.

But many doctors have argued that universities cannot cope with such a sharp increase in student numbers and that it would ultimately undermine the quality of the country’s medical services. But critics say doctors, one of the highest-paid professions in South Korea, simply fear that supplying more doctors will result in lower incomes in the future.

Public polls show that a majority of ordinary South Koreans support Yoon’s plan. But observers say ordinary people are increasingly fed up with the protracted confrontation between the government and doctors, as doctors’ strikes have led to the cancellation of hundreds of surgeries and other medical treatments in hospitals.

Yoon has faced calls from many, including some in his own ruling conservative party, to make concessions as the party’s candidates face an uphill battle against their liberal rivals ahead of the April 10 parliamentary election. choices.

Striking doctors face license suspensions because they failed to meet the government’s deadline to return to work at the end of February. Government officials have repeatedly suggested they could ease punitive measures if strikers return to their hospitals voluntarily.

The striking doctors represent a fraction of the total number of doctors in South Korea, estimated between 115,000 and 140,000. But in some major hospitals, they make up 30% to 40% of doctors, assisting qualified doctors and department heads during surgeries and other treatments while undergoing training.

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