Nearly 86 pc of South Koreans call for doctors to end protest: Survey

by IANS |

Seoul, June 3 (IANS) Nearly 86 per cent of South Koreans believe junior doctors, who have been on a walkout since late February, should return to hospitals, a poll showed on Monday, reflecting growing public fatigue over the ongoing disruptions in medical services.

According to the poll conducted by the Korean Health and Medical Workers' Union, which holds nurses and other related workers as members, 85.6 per cent of respondents called for doctors to return to their worksites, while only 12 per cent supported the collective action, Yonhap news agency reported.

The survey was based on 1,000 respondents and was conducted from Tuesday to Wednesday last week.

About 12,000 trainee doctors have remained off the job for more than three months in protest of the plan to raise the medical school admissions quota by 2,000, causing disruptions at general hospitals and emergency rooms.

Regarding a Seoul appellate court's recent rejection of an injunction filed by doctors to suspend the medical reform, 70.4 per cent supported the verdict, while only 18.1 per cent disagreed with it.

Approximately 65 per cent of respondents also said authorities should proceed with the increase in medical school seats, far outpacing the 29 per cent who sided with the doctors calling for the government to scrap the reform plan.

"The people are expressing strong protest and fatigue against the doctors' organisation," the union said in a statement.

Meanwhile, amid slim chances of dialogue between the government and the medical community, the Korea Medical Association (KMA), the largest doctors' organisation, held candlelight vigils last week, warning of a "full-fledged" protest against the reform plan in June.

Medical sources said the KMA plans to carry out a vote this week among its members to decide on whether to carry out an all-out strike including doctors at local clinics.

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