UPDATE : Monday, September 7, 2020
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Doctors to end strike as government puts healthcare policy on hold
  • By Kwak Sung-sun
  • Published 2020.09.04 14:53
  • Updated 2020.09.04 14:53
  • comments 0

The medical community agreed to end the ongoing strike, as the government and the ruling party promised to put on hold plans of increasing doctors and establishing a state-run medical school. The agreement between the doctors’ group and the ruling party stated that they would discuss key healthcare policy issues from scratch.

According to the Korean Medical Association and the Democratic Party, the two sides on Friday morning agreed to work together to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and advance the public healthcare sector.

Korean Medical Association President Choi Dae-zip, from left, Democratic Party Chairman Lee Nak-yon and Democratic Party Policy Committee Chief Han Jeoung-ae signed an agreement to end the strike, in Yeouido, Seoul, Friday.

According to the accord, the Democratic Party and the KMA decided to hold discussions on increasing medical school admissions and setting up a new public medical school until the Covid-19 outbreak eases. They said the sides would form a consultation body after stabilizing the pandemic and reviewing related issues with all possibilities open.

The agreement also included that the ruling party and the government would not push related legislation during the consultation period.

The Democratic Party said it would endeavor to secure a sufficient budget to improve public healthcare institutions' competitiveness and their quality of medical services.

The ruling party also said it would provide administrative and financial support to improve the medical training environment for interns and residents and working conditions for fellow doctors through law revisions.

The health and welfare ministry and the KMA agreed to work together to provide better medical services for rural areas and essential medical care, enhance medical education and training, and battle Covid-19.

The ministry and the doctors’ group were scheduled to hold the signing ceremony on Friday afternoon.

The agreement between the KMA and the health and welfare ministry, released before the signing event, includes forming a special commission to develop plans to support medical care in provincial areas, nurture essential medical care, improve the training environment for junior doctors, discuss enhancing the structure of the national health insurance review committee, and establish a better medical delivery system.

They agreed that the health and welfare ministry would actively reflect the result of discussions at the special commission in the government’s plan to advance the public health sector.

They also agreed that the commission of health ministry officials and medical professionals would discuss issues involving four healthcare policies – increasing doctors, establishing a public medical school, allowing insurance benefits for traditional herbal medicines, and allowing telemedicine.

After reaching the agreement, the health and welfare ministry asked medical school students who refused to take the state medical licensing exam, to apply for the test.

Following the agreement, interns, residents, and fellow doctors are likely to return to work from the two-week strike nationwide.


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