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South Korean president criticizes medics, stands firm on sector reforms

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NEW DELHI: South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol criticized the group of medics opposing sector reforms, calling them a ‘cartel’ and affirming the government’s commitment to its plans despite a month-long doctors’ strike.
The strike, initiated by trainee doctors on February 20 to protest proposed training reforms, has led to the cancellation of essential treatments and surgeries.
The government, however, remains resolute and has even threatened legal action against the striking medics. The government’s proposal to increase medical school admissions by 2,000 next year aims to address shortages and cater to an aging population, although doctors argue that it may compromise service quality.
President Yoon explained that this figure was not arbitrary, but based on thorough research of current and future medical needs, acknowledging that even with this increase, there would still be a demand-supply gap, especially in regions outside Seoul.
He urged doctors to return to work to avoid the suspension of their licenses. Emphasizing past unsuccessful attempts to increase medical school admissions, Yoon highlighted the need to break the cycle of failure.
He called on the doctors to present a unified and scientifically sound alternative if they disagree with the government’s plan.
As South Korea gears up for a crucial election next week, public opinion on the strike has shifted, with a majority now suggesting adjustments to the reform’s scale and timing. The government’s stance remains firm as it navigates through this challenging situation.

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