South Korean doctors march to protest medical school quotas

Doctors shout slogans during a rally to protest against the government’s plan to raise the annual enrolment quota at medical schools, near the Presidential Office in Seoul on February 25, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Hundreds of senior doctors held a rally near the presidential office in Seoul on Sunday to support young doctors and protest against a government plan to increase medical school admissions.

About 400 doctors gathered at Korean Medical Association (KMA) building for a meeting to discuss their plan and afterwards took to the streets with banners reading "pursuing unilateral policy threatens public health."

More than 7,800 interns and resident doctors have walked off their jobs. That is just a fraction of the country's 100,000 doctors, but they have a key role in daily operations at teaching hospitals, where they can make up more than 40% of staff, as cost savings make them attractive for larger hospitals.

The government announced a plan to increase the number of students admitted to medical schools by 2,000 starting in the 2025 academic year to bring the total to 5,000. However, the protesting doctors say the real issue is pay and working conditions, not the number of physicians.

(Source: Reuters) 

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