Go to contents

Gov’t pushes forward mandatory placement of pediatricians in the emergency room

Gov’t pushes forward mandatory placement of pediatricians in the emergency room

Posted February. 23, 2023 07:44,   

Updated February. 23, 2023 07:44


The government announced a plan to make 42 high-level general hospitals mandatory to place pediatric emergency specialists and expand pediatric intensive care units nationwide. Public specialist medical centers for critically ill children will be increased to 14, and a 24-hour call center where healthcare staff are on standby will start operating to provide assistance when a child suddenly becomes ill.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare revealed the “Plan to Improve the Pediatric Medical System” intended to expand public infrastructure for children’s health care and strengthening pediatrician compensation.

The pediatric medicine department is one of the most vulnerable fields of essential medicine facing a crisis. Korea’s meager fertility rate of 0.78, the average number of children a woman will have in her lifetime, is forcing more and more pediatric hospitals to shut down, which in turn is exacerbating doctors’ tendency to avoid pediatric practice. A sharp decline in the number of young doctors majoring in pediatrician practice is putting pressure on remaining doctors, causing the suspension of pediatric emergency medicine and inpatient pediatric care.

On Wednesday, President Yoon Suk Yeol visited Seoul University Children’s Hospital in Jongno, Seoul. President Yoon expressed concern that the low fertility rate drives hospital shortages and promised to strengthen the public policy for the pediatric medical system, emergency medical system, 24-hour counseling, and treatment for critically ill children in cooperation with the medical sector so that children can grow up healthy. “Pediatric patients suffering from severe diseases are of priority to the government,” President Yoon said. The Presidential Office said it is also reviewing pan-ministerial solutions to address the trend that high school students with highest grades choose to go to medical schools, without regard to their aptitude or interest, simply because medical jobs pay well.