Emergency South Korean Hospitals After Doctors Go on Strike

Doctors are protesting the government’s agenda to increase the number of students admitted to medical schools in a bid to strengthen health services in one of the world fastest aging populations. Doctors say the real dilemma is pay and working conditions.

Park Dan chairman of the Korean Residents and Residents Association who took part in the protest said he was willing to be arrested so that the doctors demands would be heard. “Everyone was angry and frustrated so we all left the hospital. Please listen to our voices” he said in a radio interview adding that they were open to discussions if the government was ready to listen to their demands.

Doctors South Korean Go on Strike

Some doctors said increasing patient admissions would harm the quality of medical teaching a concern voiced by 200 doctors and medical students at a demonstration in the southwestern province of North Jeolla.

“We took to the streets like this because we are worried that South Korea’s medical system the most hated in the world will collapse” said Um Chul head of the Jeonbuk Medical Association as quoted by the Yonhap information agency. “Doctors are not playing turf wars” he added.

Around 300 doctors in Seoul held a demonstration near the presidential office asking the government to cancel this agenda. Government officials called on doctors to stop their protests and prioritize patients. Many Koreans support the government’s agenda and a recent Gallup Korea poll showed that around 76 percent of respondents support this agenda regardless of political affiliation.

In a parliamentary hearing Prime Minister Han Duck-soo rejected claims by some doctors that the agenda to increase the number of medical students was aimed at gaining votes going into April’s general election.

Protesters say South Korea has enough doctors and the government needs to increase salaries and reduce workload especially in key areas such as pediatrics and emergency medicine before recruiting more students.

Malaysia Immigration Department allowed tourists to fill out a computerized arrival card form online three days before arriving in the country. This policy was created to speed up immigration procedures.

Malaysia also applies a 30-day visa exemption for Indian and Chinese tourists. These two countries are driving the number of travelers to Malaysia. The Malaysian government also tripled the length of stay for Hong Kong passport holders to 90 days last year.

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