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Only a handful of interns and residents return to hospitals

Only a handful of interns and residents return to hospitals

Posted March. 05, 2024 07:54,   

Updated March. 05, 2024 07:54


The reason why the government set the return deadline for interns and residents who left hospitals was a concern over the medical vacuum in March as over 3,000 residents finished their training period at the end of last month, and new interns and residents to be appointed are highly likely to turn down their appointment. In addition, as doctors who were scheduled to sign contracts as fellows at large hospitals declined to sign contracts, a large-scale medical vacuum seems unavoidable.

According to the medical sector, only about half of the 1,126 fellows scheduled to work at the Big 5 hospitals in Seoul this year followed through with normal work. “In particular, it seems like a large portion of those who were scheduled to continue as fellows at hospitals where they finished residency left hospitals,” an insider of one of the Big 5 hospitals said. Fellows refer to doctors who remain at training hospitals after finishing internship and residency to conduct research and deepen medical skills.

The situation is similar outside Seoul and Gyeonggi Province. Only five out of 10 fellows scheduled to begin work in March at Dankook University Hospital in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province signed contracts. “The absence of interns who serve an essential role on medical sites has a direct impact on operations and emergency rooms. With only professors working in the field, we now have reached a limit,” said a member of a university hospital outside Seoul and Gyeonggi Province. The absence of new interns who were supposed to begin their training at hospitals after graduating from medical school is even more serious.

Fifty-six interns and 60 interns who were supposed to begin work at Pusan National University Hospital and Chungnam National University Hospital, respectively, did not show up at hospitals on Monday. “It is true that the contract signing rate of fellows is rather low,” said Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Park Min-su during a briefing of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters on Monday. “There is an institution where zero fellows signed contracts. We are working to persuade fellows to sign contracts.”

The government is maintaining a stance that license suspension of a minimum of three months is unavoidable for interns and residents who took a group action of resignation. “License suspension of more than three months may disqualify them from meeting the sufficient training period as an intern or resident, which will delay obtaining the qualification by more than a year and possibly cause disadvantages when seeking jobs,” said Minister Park. “If they are attendant at hospitals during site inspections, it could be an extenuating factor."

It is known that only a handful of interns and residents are returning to hospitals. Most doctors who were scheduled to start working as residents in March after finishing their internship have not returned to hospitals.

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