South Korea's Doctor Protest: Government Demands Return to Work

South Korea's Doctor Protest: Government Demands Return to Work

The South Korean government has issued an ultimatum to young doctors who have been protesting for a week, demanding their return to work by the end of February. The protest has significantly disrupted services at several major hospitals.

The doctors are opposed to a government plan to increase the number of students admitted to medical school, arguing that it will not address the underlying issues of poor pay and working conditions. The government, however, maintains that the increase in medical school admissions is necessary to alleviate the impending shortage of doctors in the country's rapidly aging society.

The government has threatened legal action against doctors who do not comply with the back-to-work order, including prosecution, arrest, and revocation of medical licenses. The vice health minister has stated that those who remain on strike after March 1 will face a minimum three-month suspension of their medical licenses.

Despite the government's stance, senior doctors and private practitioners have rallied in support of the protesting young doctors, urging the government to abandon its plan to increase medical school quotas. Public opinion is divided on the issue, with some polls indicating strong support for the government's initiative.

The government has outlined a package of policy plans to address the concerns of the medical community, including increasing the number of new medical students, expanding legal protection against malpractice suits, and providing incentives for doctors to practice in essential disciplines and regional areas. However, some doctors view the government's actions as politically motivated and aimed at securing more votes in the upcoming general election.