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Yoon refuses to back down on medical school quota hike

President Yoon Suk Yeol delivers a televised address to the nation on medical reforms at the presidential office in Yongsan District, Seoul, Monday. Courtesy of presidential office

President Yoon Suk Yeol reaffirmed his determination to expand the admissions quota for medical schools, Monday, urging the public to support the scheme, which he believes is crucial for safeguarding public safety.However, at the same time, he left room for dialogue, saying doctors should come up with a unified alternative proposal if they want to reduce the number of new slots. This appears to be an effort to address the ruling People Power Party’s (PPP) demand for the president to display greater flexibility on the issue, which is impacting support for the ruling bloc ahead of the April 10 general elections.In a televised 51-minute address to the nation, Yoon outlined his rationale for adding 2,000 new slots and criticized doctors for walking off their jobs for nearly 50 days to protest the government plan.Addressing the public inconvenience caused by the doctors’ strike, Yoon said, “As the president, I regret not being able to promptly address the public inconvenience.”

Yoon devoted most of his speech to explaining the necessity of expanding the medical school quota, citing research results the government used to come up with the number. He emphasized that all of these research studies have arrived at the same conclusion: that the country will face a shortage of at least 10,000 doctors by 2035.”Adding 2,000 new slots is the minimum expansion meticulously calculated and determined by the government through thorough consideration and based on solid evidence,” Yoon said. “All rational people will agree that the country faces a shortage of medical doctors.”Yoon said nearly new 10,000 physicians are receiving their licenses every year in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan, which are far higher than Korea’s 3,058, even though those countries already have more doctors per capita.Yoon also noted a number of cases where hospitals in rural areas of Korea experience difficulties in recruiting physicians, and the lengthy period required for training specialists, highlighting the necessity of increasing the number of doctors.“I once again emphasize that adding 2,000 new slots is imperative to fulfill our constitutional obligation of safeguarding the lives and safety of our citizens, as well as to address the pressing need to 스포츠토토존 adapt to the rapid aging of our population,” Yoon said.

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