Medical professors to resign this week amid prolonged doctors' walkout in S Korea

Medical professors to resign this week amid prolonged doctors' walkout in S Korea
Photo credit: Yonhap

Medical professors at major hospitals in South Korea will resign later this week and have a day off next week as they have been thinly stretched amid a prolonged walkout by trainee doctors, officials said Tuesday, deepening concerns over further disruptions in the country's health care system, Yonhap reported.

"We confirm our resignation will start from April 25 as planned," an emergency committee of national medical professors said after an online general meeting. "We will go ahead without the government's policies to accept our resignation."

The committee consists of professors from 20 medical schools nationwide, including Seoul National University (SNU), Yonsei University and the University of Ulsan.

It said professors will have a day off next week as their fatigue reached the utmost limit.

Plans to have weekly breaks on a regular basis will be discussed at another general meeting, the committee said.

Earlier in the day, medical professors from some hospitals also announced their plans to step down and have a weekly day off from next week.

We have decided to shut down once a week from April 30," said an emergency committee of professors of SNU College of Medicine and SNU Hospital after a general meeting.

Professors from Asan Medical Center and University of Ulsan College of Medicine said they will resign from Thursday, while those who cannot leave the hospital immediately will have a day off every week from May 3.

"Due to the mental and physical limitations of professors in a prolonged emergency medical situation, we have no choice but to reschedule clinics and surgeries," they said.

They will suspend all surgeries and treatment for outpatients once a week and details, including when to begin the move, are expected to be decided in accordance with the situations of each hospital, they added.

The decision came as about 12,000 trainee doctors have left their worksites since Feb. 20 in protest of the government's plan to boost the number of medical students, forcing major hospitals to delay or cancel surgeries and other public health services. In support of the walkout by junior doctors, medical professors submitted their resignations.

The move is also seen as a way of adding pressure by the medical community on the government to seek a breakthrough as the plan on the medical school admission quota for next year is supposed to be finalized by end-April. 

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