Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun also spoke on the issue.
“Because large medical centers that have a number of urgent operations and critically ill patients have their hands tied, we will impose the maximum sanctions in the boundaries of the law against the doctors who left their posts unauthorized.”
At 8 AM, health minister Park Neunghoo issued an order that’s backed by the law to call back the doctors to their hospitals.
The current legislation punishes those who violate the order with up to 3 years in prison or up to 25,000 U.S. dollars in fines, or a cancellation or suspension of their medical license.
The hardline stance comes as both sides continued talks until early this morning but couldn’t come to an agreement.
“As this doctor’s sign reads in Korean, the doctors are against the government’s reform plan, which includes increasing admission quotas at medical schools to recruit an additional 4-thousand doctors over the next decade.”
Doctors claim it’s the country’s healthcare policies,… NOT the shortage of doctors,… that have caused the problems in provincial areas.
With interns and residents already on strike since last Friday and now fellows and professors joining, disruptions are inevitable at some medical centers.
At Seoul National University Hospital, a major medical center in Seoul more than 80% of interns and residents have gone on strike.
The hospital has had to cancel 40-percent of its surgeries, and on Tuesday only 65 out of the total 130 surgeries were conducted.
The situation there could get worse during the next three days of the strike.
The President of the Korean Medical Association, Choi Dae-zip said the government’s order only made it more difficult for them to go back and said unless there is something they can accept, there will be a third strike.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News