The Korea Herald


Professors sue health ministry over med school expansion plan

By Park Jun-hee

Published : March 6, 2024 - 14:48

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A man steps inside the building of Korea University College of Medicine in Seongbuk-gu, northern Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap) A man steps inside the building of Korea University College of Medicine in Seongbuk-gu, northern Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Faculty councils of 33 medical schools filed for an injunction Tuesday against the planned hike in medical school enrollment quotas, along with an administrative lawsuit against the Health Ministry, reports said the same day, citing education and health authorities.

This comes after 40 medical schools nationwide have collectively requested an increase in the annual student quota by 3,401 in a government survey. The professors say the schools made their decisions without heeding their opinions.

Medical professors are also mulling collective action to protest the move, reports added. They have been claiming that schools are not ready for an immediate increase in the hike and that students wouldn’t be able to receive an adequate education.

An emergency committee formed by professors at the University of Ulsan College of Medicine said Tuesday that nearly 77.5 percent of professors support tendering resignations en masse or stepping down from their concurrent representations, citing a recent survey it has conducted on faculty members.

In another case, Bae Dae-hwan, a cardiology professor at Chungbuk National University, wrote on his social media late Monday that he would step down from his post.

“There’s no reason (for me) to stay in a hospital that specializes in treating severe and difficult cases, so I’m resigning. ... The increase in medical school enrollment quota by 2,000 made without relevant information will only accelerate the collapse of the medical system,” the post read.

Many medical professors often hold concurrent positions where they also care for patients in hospitals, which could lead to a greater health care crisis and more delayed appointments and surgeries.

As patients face health care disruptions for the third week, an association advocating for patients with severe diseases issued a statement on Monday, urging doctors to engage in talks to resolve the conflict.

“Patients with severe diseases are suffering from immense pain and nervousness and are unable to sleep,” it said.

Separately, Joo Soo-ho, the head of the public relations council of the Korean Medical Association's emergency committee, appeared for police questioning Wednesday for aiding and abetting junior doctors’ collective resignations.