Home Medical Vice Health Minister Criticizes Medical Professors’ Resignation Threat Over Quota Dispute

Vice Health Minister Criticizes Medical Professors’ Resignation Threat Over Quota Dispute

MANILA—In a significant escalation of tensions within the healthcare sector, Vice Health Minister Park Min-soo has accused medical professors in South Korea of attempting to blackmail the public. This accusation follows the professors' announcement of a planned mass resignation in response to government policies.

According to Philippines News Agency, the controversy centers on the government's steadfast decision to increase medical school admissions quotas by 2,000 seats, raising the total to 5,058. This policy, aimed at addressing healthcare shortages, particularly in rural areas and key specialties like pediatrics and emergency care, has met strong resistance from the medical community.

Medical educators and practitioners argue that the increased intake will dilute the quality of medical training and inflate healthcare costs, adversely affecting patient care. Their discontent has already manifested in a near-month-long walkout by interns and resident doctors, and now, professors from 16 medical schools have threatened to resign en masse on March 25.

Park Min-soo condemned these actions as coercive and detrimental to public welfare, emphasizing the necessity to disrupt the pattern of collective protests within the medical sector. The government maintains that expanding the number of medical students is essential for preparing for demographic shifts and ensuring adequate healthcare provision, particularly as South Korea's population ages rapidly.

Additionally, the Vice Health Minister dismissed demands for higher health insurance reimbursements for doctors, warning that such adjustments, without expanding the educational quota, could precipitate steep increases in insurance premiums.

The standoff reflects broader debates about healthcare policy, resource allocation, and the future of medical education in South Korea. While the government views the quota increase as crucial for long-term healthcare sustainability, medical professionals demand attention to current issues of understaffing, compensation, and legal protections.

The impending mass resignation of medical faculty looms as a critical juncture in this dispute, with potential far-reaching implications for the nation's healthcare system and medical education standards.