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Medical circles enforce strike

Posted August. 20, 2000 21:28,   


With most local clinics once again treating patients, medical circles have decided to enforce the ongoing strike and then provide free treatment from the afternoon of August 23.

On August 20, while the members of the Medical Rights Acquisition Struggle Committee of the Korean Medical Association adopted a united stance with negotiations with the government before them, taking into consideration the reality of hospital doctors, who are experiencing difficulties due to a 3-week walkout, it has decided to enforce reduced treatment hours.

However, as interns and residents are refusing to give up their struggle, despite orders to return to their jobs, it is forecast that the treatment setbacks at large hospitals will continue for the time being. As a result of the enforcement of reduced treatment hours by medical circles, interns and residents plan to gradually withdraw the free treatment teams of interns and residents comprised by region beginning August 23.

The Korean Medical Association`s co-representatives of the Emergency Subcommittee, which had earlier been known to be announcing a unified proposal for use in negotiations with the government on this day, decided to determine the announcement timing again while standing by and watching the trends of the medical strike. In particular, because interns and residents, who have been leading the walkout, are still keeping the releases of those imprisoned and the cancellation of searches for wanted persons as preconditions for negotiations, despite the preparation of a unified proposal, whether medical circles-government negotiations will be reconvened is still unclear.

Meanwhile, as some medical college professors protesting the order for interns and residents to return to work formed a 100-member team Sunday, and as students of 42 medical colleges nationwide decided to have a proclamation ceremony declaring voluntary withdrawal by convening a medical college students rally at Kyongbuk University on August 21, there is concern that the medical situation will be expanded to professors and students.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare on August 20, the Ulsan City Doctors` Association, which had shown an over 70% strike participation until so far, will recommence normal operations August 21. In addition, treatment in 10 cities and provinces, including Pusan, Inchon, and Taegu, has already become normalized. The closure of operation ratio in Seoul, Kyonggi, Chonbuk, Kyongnam, and Kyongbuk have also dropped to around the 10% level.

Kim Joon-Seok kjs359@donga.com