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Court rejects doctor group leaders' request to halt license suspension

By Yonhap

Published : April 11, 2024 - 20:00

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Kim Taek-woo, emergency committee head of the Korea Medical Association, gives a briefing in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap) Kim Taek-woo, emergency committee head of the Korea Medical Association, gives a briefing in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

A Seoul court on Thursday dismissed requests by leaders of the biggest doctors' association to halt the government's suspension of their medical licenses in connection with a mass walkout by trainee doctors.

The health ministry earlier imposed a three-month license suspension on two leaders of the Korea Medical Association (KMA), including the emergency committee head, Kim Taek-woo, accusing them of instigating a collective labor action by trainee doctors. The suspension becomes effective on April 15.

More than 90 percent of South Korea's 13,000 trainee doctors have walked off the job since Feb. 20 in protest of the government's plan to increase the number of medical school admissions by 2,000 starting next year from the current 3,058 seats to address a shortage of doctors.

Kim has since filed a request against the health minister with the Seoul Administrative Court to halt the execution of the license suspension.

The court on Thursday dismissed the request, saying halting the suspension could compromise the effectiveness of the health ministry's punitive action taken against disobedience of back-to-work orders and hinder the public's trust in such punitive actions.

The court also cited the possibility of the collective walkout by doctors spreading further and prolonging a medical vacuum, concluding that the harm it can inflict on public health and welfare is significantly graver than the damage the applicant could sustain from the suspension.

In a separate ruling Thursday, the administrative court also dismissed a request by Park Myung-ha, the KMA's organization consolidation chief, to halt the suspension of his medical license. (Yonhap)