South Korean Prime Minister Calls for Heads of “Big Five” Hospitals to Help End Strike

South Korean Prime Minister (PM) Han Duck-soo urged the heads of the “Big Five” hospitals to increase their role to create a “dialogue channel” between the government and junior doctors on March 29th.

The PM held a meeting with the heads, where he stated that “despite the government’s continued efforts for dialogue with the medical community, a dialogue mechanism has not been established yet.” Han then said he hoped that the heads would play a role since they “always work with trainee doctors and professors.”

He also said the government is committed to investing in the improvement of the treatment of interns and residents and that cooperation is important in the process. Han then called for the junior doctors to end the strike and return to their jobs.

The South Korean government estimated that approximately 90 percent of its 13,000 junior doctors have been on strike since late February to protest the government’s plan. Central to the government’s plan is to increase the number of students admitted to medical schools, with the quota increasing by 2,000 seats beginning in 2025.