Go to contents

Military committee wihdraws decision to view conscripts` psychiatric records

Military committee wihdraws decision to view conscripts` psychiatric records

Posted November. 22, 2014 05:26,   


The Military Culture Reform Committee has decided to withdraw its reform proposal to view psychiatric medical records of all conscripts prior to the draft. The decision was made one day after the Dong-A Ilbo’s Thursday report on the controversy over the military’s reading of medical records.

Dr. Cheon Geun-a, psychiatry professor at Yonsei University College of Medicine and private sector member of the committee’s Military Service System Reform Division, said in a telephone interview with the Dong-A Ilbo on Thursday, “All members of the division agreed to remove the phrase "it is allowed (for the military) to read the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC)’s medical records during physical examination for conscription" from the reform proposal. The members also agreed not to have discussion again over this issue.” The reform proposal is slated to be confirmed at the end of December.

However, the Military Manpower Administration (MMA), which is responsible for the physical examination of conscripts, adheres to its stance to “view psychiatric medical records of the examined conscripts prior to the draft.”

The administration’s vice spokesman Kim Yong-doo said, “The committee is not a governing organization of the MMA and its decision has no binding force. From the next year, the agency plans to receive "consent for personal information utilization" at the venue of physical examination for conscription and checks only about records of mental illness treatment and hospitalization through digital network connected to the NHIC. It does not create any legal issue such as infringement of the personal information.”

As the stance of the MMA has been made public, psychiatrists and patient groups are rising up in great opposition. The Korea Neuro-Psychiatric Association with 35,000 members of neuropsychiatric and psychiatric specialists across the nation announced that it would issue a statement to criticize the military’s decision and make a protesting visit or stage a protest.

Psychiatric professor Lee Dong-woo at Sanggye Baek Hospital, a spokesman of the association, said, “It would not be easy for the youths to refuse signing on the consent for personal information utilization amidst strict atmosphere during physical examination. It is an act of human rights violation to stigmatize people as ‘mentally-ill’ even after their treatment has been over.”