The South Korean government’s medical reform plans have been put on hold,… and thousands of doctors are expected to return to work soon.
The reform plans, the core of which were increasing medical school admission quotas and building public medical schools, had prompted thousands of doctors to stage a walkout since August 21st.
Putting an end to the weeks long protest was a five-point agreement.
The Korean Medical Association and Health Ministry met on Friday afternoon, where they agreed to halt plans for the medical reforms and resume discussions once COVID-19 ends.
They will set up a joint organization to run the discussions to prevent any unilateral decisions.
They also agreed to re-negotiate the medical reform plans. in a manner that looks to the future and to make joint efforts in the fight against COVID-19.

“I sincerely apologize to the public for causing so much worry and inconvenience. We welcome the KMA’s decision to return to dialogue and to focus on fighting COVID-19.”

These agreements are in parallel with those the KMA signed with the ruling Democratic Party earlier in the morning,which the party hopes COULD bring positive results for both sides.

“We hope those protesting students re-register for the Medical Licensing Exam that they previously canceled, and we will also work to retract criminal charges against doctors who did not comply with the back-to-work order.”

Neither agreement says the medical reform will be “scrapped”, but the head of the KMA said he believes,.that it effectively means that the talks can resume with a clean slate.
However, some doctors raised internal objections, prompting concerns that their return to work may take a little more time.
Some 80 trainee doctors lodged strong protests at Friday’s signing event between the KMA and the health ministry, forcing it to be moved to another site.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.

Reporter : kelee@arirang.com

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