Seoul city hospitals to suffer nearly 100 bln won of losses over doctors’ walkout this year

Seoul city hospitals to suffer nearly 100 bln won of losses over doctors’ walkout this year
Photo credit: Yonhap

Two major hospitals run by the Seoul city government are forecast to suffer losses of nearly 100 billion won (US$71.89 million) this year due to the prolonged walkout by trainee doctors, officials said Sunday, Yonhap reports.

The two municipal hospitals, Seoul Medical Center and Boramae Medical Center, are projected to suffer 89.7 billion won in losses combined this year if striking trainee doctors do not return to work and their operation disruptions continue through the year-end, according to the city government.

Trainee doctors nationwide have walked off the job since late February in protest of the government's increase of the medical school admission quota that aims to address the shortage of doctors.

Of 203 doctors at Seoul Medical Center, 22 percent were trainee doctors, and the proportion at the Boramae hospital came to 33.9 percent.

The walkout caused the operation of their hospital beds to drop by more than 20 percent each, and the number of outpatients in the Boraemae hospital fell more than 10 percent.

The city government said it plans to inject 45.6 billion won to support them in an effort to prevent the medical service vacuum from worsening.

The hospitals activated an emergency management mode and have implemented cost-cutting measures.

"The decision to inject the city budget was inevitable to ensure that they provide necessary medical services for citizens. We will work hard to persuade trainee doctors to end their strike," an official said.

Despite strong opposition from doctors, the government late last month finalized an admissions quota hike of some 1,500 students for medical schools, marking the first such increase in 27 years.

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