ANNOUNCEMENTS
  • Have a fantastic summer break!
  • First Day of School on August 12th.
  • Don't forget your spirit shirts on Friday.
The Student News Site of Daegu International School

Jets Flyover

Daegu International School's student news site
ANNOUNCEMENTS
  • Have a fantastic summer break!
  • First Day of School on August 12th.
  • Don't forget your spirit shirts on Friday.
The Student News Site of Daegu International School

Jets Flyover

The Student News Site of Daegu International School

Jets Flyover

Divided Korean Population Squabbles Over Expansion of Medical Admissions Quota

The battle of ideas continues over the future of healthcare in Korea
Some+citizens+advocate+for+an+increase+in+the+number+of+medical+students.+The+increase+in+the+population+of+elders+demands+an+equal+increase+in+doctors+too.
Ellen Cho
Some citizens advocate for an increase in the number of medical students. The increase in the population of elders demands an equal increase in doctors too.

With the increased presence of allergens with the warmer weather, your nose itches and your eyes throb with a pulsing sensation. To relieve these symptoms, you go to a hospital— only to find that it is closed. You sigh, and go to a hospital further downtown. You fully expect the hospital to be bustling with patients, but you are greeted with an eerie silence. This hospital, too, is closed. Flabbergasted, you ask some locals why the hospital is closed, and they tell you that all the doctors have gone on strike.

The notice of the implementation of the increase in medical admissions quota has polarized the Korean population, with some, including the majority of doctors, adamantly against the government’s decision. Subsequently, up to 40% of doctors and more than 90% of trainee doctors in various major medical institutions went on strike. On the other hand, the advocates of this policy fervently contend with the critics to emphasize its cruciality. 

As the discussion continues and protests and strikes happen left and right, the citizens and medical communicate develop greater polarization for each other. (Olivia Park)

Professor P in the department of gastrointestinal surgery and Student J, a child in a family of doctors, elaborate on their clashing opinions. Professor P said, “Whether or not there is a need to expand the number of medical admissions is a matter that must be decided after sufficient discussion with relevant physician groups, especially those in charge of education. Unlike other disciplines, medical education focuses on practical training and face-to-face education, so creating an environment where equality education is possible comes first.” 

She firmly believes that if the number of students nearly doubles with no changes made to the education system, the quality of students’ education will inevitably deteriorate. “It is very likely that we will end up mass producing doctors who have not undergone proper clinical practice experience,” she said. As a professor, she also worries that there is also a risk that some universities may be stripped of their right to send students to take the national medical exam, and students at that school will no longer be eligible.

Student J, on the contrary, explains that the policy is imperative for superior healthcare services. He said, “Doctors’ income continues to increase because the demand for medical care is increasing. Nevertheless, the number of doctors is not.” 

He adds that as the number of patients per doctor increases, treatment time is shortened and the quality of medical services is decreasing. As a result, he said, “The most fundamental measure to solve the problem of medical service supply shortage is to expand medical service supply by increasing the number of doctors.”

Professor P points out various problems with how the government addressed the shortage of doctors. She asserts that because the news released by the government and media is somewhat biased, it appears as if the medical community is at fault. However, she attests, “It is true that there are many problems with the government’s policy, as medical experts have expressed with their protests.”

She clarifies that the government is comparing South Korea’s healthcare system with the systems in OECD nations. However, she said, “The two are incomparable due to the difference in nature of the administration of the systems. OECD nations’ systems are completely funded by the government, including the doctors’ wages. On the flip side, South Korea’s healthcare system consists of a nationalized health insurance system, but the healthcare itself is private, with doctors managing their own businesses. Accordingly, it is unjustifiable for the government to enforce such drastic changes regarding the admission of medical students in the field unless the government is going to fund all public medical costs from medical education to wages of medical personnel.”

Student J agrees with the government, wholly concurring with their decision. He stated, “The number of doctors per 1,000 people according to the OECD average in Korea is far less than that of other developed nations.”

He said, “We’ve been discussing doing this for over a year, and have decided on the size of expansion after careful consideration with experts and universities. The Korean population is aging rapidly, and demand for medical care is growing exponentially. It takes up to 10 years to train a doctor. If we want to increase the number of doctors to 10,000 by 2035, we must take action now.

Regarding the doctors taking strike in major hospitals, Student J says, “It is unreasonable of the medical professionals to go on strike. Because of the doctors’ absences, less medical treatment is accessible to the public.” 

Professor P is also regretful of the situation, and said, “All medical staff are very sorry for the inevitable inconvenience caused to patients and their guardians.” 

However, she articulates how, even though the medical community had already proposed the improvement measures to the government over a long period of time, the suggestions were not accepted. “I believe that this has led to a situation that proves that the current medical system has reached its limit of being able to maintain it,” she said.

Both Professor P and Student J, although in varying directions, hope for the resolution of this debate, and wish that the current crisis will prove to be the foundation and starting point for rectifying the distorted and collapsing medical care in Korea.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Apple Jun
Apple Jun, Writer
Apple, a sophomore and avid writer, returns for her second year on the Jets Flyover staff. Determined to immerse herself in all aspects of the DIS community, she participates in an array of lunch clubs and ASAs including MUN, SKAC sports, and Jets Flyover. In her leisure time, she loves to read or listen to music. You can often find her tucked away in a corner with a good show or under the covers with her nose buried in her all-time favorite novel – Pride and Prejudice. 
Ellen Cho
Ellen Cho, Illustrator
Freshmen Ellen Cho joins the Flyover staff for the first time. She brings interest and passion in diverse fields such as STEM, sports, and art. Through her dedication and commitment, Ellen strives to make meaningful contributions in the community while she continues to pursue her interests across multiple fields.

Olivia Park
Olivia Park, Illustrator
Olivia Park, a sixth grader at DIS, rises up to middle school with a passion for digital design. This year, she hopes to design inspiring and entertaining graphics for the Flyover and craft a portfolio to become a professional designer for a company some day. In her free time, she crochets and binge-watches her favorite TV show, “Alexa and Katie.”
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Jets Flyover Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *