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Calls against doctors` strikes growing

Posted September. 06, 2000 16:51,   


Amid medical professors` stoppage of their services to treat outpatients, there are growing criticism of the long-protracting doctors` strikes even within the medical circle.

The Association of Physicians for Humanitarianism (APH) urged the doctors to discontinue their strikes and return to work, while calling upon the government to take comprehensive steps for medical reforms. The association asserted in a press conference on September 6 that the medical turmoil was basically caused by the government`s wrong medical care system, but that the doctors` move to attain their goals though work stopage is also wrong.

Referring to the Korea Medical Association (KMA)`s demand announced on Aug. 31, the dissident association contended that the demand reflected the doctors` position only but not the general public. The APH also criticized that the KMD`s demand is feared of of misleading or disrupting the division of the roles between the doctors and pharmacists.

The Medical Reform Hope Committee, composed of progressive doctors and medical students on October 27. also criticized the KMA`s demand, claiming that the leaders of the strikes have adopted unjust means wrong, adding that doctors and students of more than 10 medical colleges across the country are participating in the reform hope committee.

Meanwhile, the medical professors held conferences at their colleges respectively in the day and confirmed a struggle plan to stop the treatment of outpatients. And they withdrew from their work places but participated only in consulting the patients on the danger list and the reserved patients in capacity of volunteers or doctors on watch. Of the 20-odd major colleges, 16 colleges suspended the medicare services to the outpatients.

Professors at the Medical College of Seoul National University stopped treatment of the outpatients and are operating emergency prescription centers, providing medicare services to those serious patients who require immediate treatments. The True Medical Service Volunteers Corp consisting of residents and doctoral fellows are taking care of part of outpatients and patients requiring emergency cares.

In this situation, the struggle committee under the KMA held a central committee meeting in the Sunday night and decided to hold rallies in each provinces and cities throughout the country on September 7 in order to go on total work stoppage from September 15. This raises worries that another round of nation-wide medical turmoil will break out.

On the other hand, the Korea Pharmacists Association (KPA) was discussing the establishment of a struggle committee and ways of blocking the division of doctors` andpharmacists` roles from being misled. The Seoul Pharmacists Association plans to hold a vote for or against its participation in the government-initiated medical reform plan. With the development, the medical dispute is likely to enter a turning point within the week.

Soh Young-A sya@donga.com