New head of S. Korean doctors’ association vows war in case of disadvantage to medical professors

South Korea
Photo credit: Yonhap

The new head of the doctors' association vowed Saturday to wage an all-out war against the government in case of any disadvantage to medical professors considering taking weekly breaks in support of the ongoing walkout by junior doctors, Yonhap reports.

Lim Hyun-taek, the president-elect of the Korean Medical Association (KMA), is known for his hawkish stance in the ongoing stalemate with the government regarding an increase in the medical school enrollment quota.

"The Ministry of Health and Welfare's treatment of professors as criminals and its intimidation are deeply infuriating," said the KMA's transition team for Lim in a press release, adding that 140,000 doctors and medical students will launch an all-out war if the professors are mistreated.

Lim has come under police scrutiny after the Ministry of Health and Welfare filed a complaint alleging he violated medical law by inciting collective action by trainee doctors opposed to the government's plan to sharply increase medical school admissions.

The country's 13,000 trainee doctors have been on strike, resigning en masse since Feb. 20, protesting the government's decision to significantly increase the medical school enrollment quota. In solidarity with medical interns and residents, medical professors at major general hospitals nationwide have joined the movement.

In an attempt to break the stalemate with the doctors, the government last week accepted a request from the chiefs of six national universities for flexibility in expanding the medical school enrollment quota.

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