Angry patients to stage massive rally over prolonged doctors’ walkout in South Korea

Angry patients to stage massive rally over prolonged doctors’ walkout in South Korea
Photo credit: Yonhap

Suffering from the prolonged walkout by junior doctors and the subsequent disruptions to the health care system, angry patients will hold a rally on an unprecedented scale next month, officials said Friday, Yonhap reports.

An association of patients' groups said it is organizing a protest, together with other patients' organizations, in Seoul on July 4 by bringing together around 1,000 people to urge doctors to end their walkout and call on the government to enact a law meant to prevent any recurrences.

There has not been such a rally by patients on this scale, as the members are either patients or their family members.

Patients have erupted in anger over a medical service vacuum after a majority of junior doctors have walked off the job since late February in protest of the quota increase.

Some community doctors held a one-day strike Tuesday, and a major doctors' lobby group is threatening to launch an indefinite strike next week.

In support of the junior doctors' move, the Seoul National University (SNU) hospitals suspended their operations indefinitely Monday, except for emergency rooms and services for critical patients, and other senior doctors were to decide whether to join their SNU colleagues.

"It is really hot these days, but we've decided to make our voice heard," Ahn Gi-jong, chief of the association, said.

"We've had meetings with high-ranking government officials and lawmakers, but nothing has changed. Nobody has listened to us, and we want to make an appeal directly to the people."

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