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South Korea junior doctors’ walkout enters fifth day; health services affected


Seoul, Feb 24 (IANS) Health services were affected in South Korea as thousands of trainee doctors remained off their jobs for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday to protest against the government’s plan to raise the medical school enrollment quota.According to the health ministry, till Thursday night, 8,897, or 78.5 per cent, of the 13,000 trainee doctors from 96 major teaching hospitals in Seoul and elsewhere have submitted their resignations, with 7,863 of them not reporting for work, Yonhap news agency reported.Chungnam National University Hospital on Saturday turned away some patients seeking emergency care due to a limited number of available physicians to handle urgent cases, such as cardiac arrest.The government has also advised patients with mild symptoms to utilise nearby clinics instead of general hospitals.Doctors and medical students have voiced opposition to the government’s plan to admit 2,000 more students to medical schools next year from the current 3,058 seats to address a shortage of doctors.Despite authorities repeatedly warning of police investigations or even arrests of physicians participating in the walkout in the case of patient deaths, the Korean Medical Association has large-scale rallies planned to be held in Seoul on Sunday and March 3.–IANSint/svn

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