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South Korea Gives Striking Doctors Until End of February to Return to Work

HeadlineFeb 26, 2024

The South Korean government has issued a warning to doctors on strike, saying they have until the end of the month to end their protest and return to work, or risk suspension of their licenses and possible prosecution. Doctors have been protesting the government’s plan to increase medical school admissions by around 65%. Young doctors and student doctors resigned en masse following the news, and thousands have walked off the job, causing delays and cancellations of surgeries at hospitals. They say they want the government to prioritize their demands for higher pay and a more manageable workload.

Ryu Ok Hada: “Trainee doctors usually work over 100 hours per week. While some may think we start our shifts at 8 or 9 a.m. in the morning, in reality, we begin at 4 or 6 a.m. in the morning. We earn around $1,500 to $3,000 per month, not tens of thousands of dollars. The current medical system in South Korea, which is a great one, is run by making cheap trainee doctors keep grinding.”

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