Half-Public Medical Care
Half-Public Medical Care
  • Choi Seon-uk
  • 승인 2021.02.14 18:07
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  Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of public health has increased dramatically. Since February 2020, thousands of confirmed patients have occurred all over the nation. All Koreans are shocked by the unexpected infectious disease. Social systems were paralyzed, and the medical system was no exception. Hospitals couldn’t cope with the influx of patients. The number of medical staff was far from sufficient to cope with all the patients.

  The disease has much greater influence on the local areas. In the case of Daegu, the importance of public health care is stressed. Because of confirmed COVID-19 patient visits, many healthcare facilities in Daegu were shut down. Although Daegu is the third largest city in Korea after Seoul and Busan, the number of medical staff was so low that Daegu had to recruit volunteers.

  To prepare for this kind of local area panic in a pandemic crisis, the Korean government announced the establishment of a public college of medicine. After a heated debate, the idea of a public college of medicine was legislated by the National Assembly on June 5th, 2020.

  The government expects the public college of medicine to solve the regional gap in medical service, medical care, and a shortage of doctors in specific medical departments such as surgery, obstetrics, and gynecology. In addition, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced if students recommended by various stakeholders participate in public medical care, this policy’s effects can be amplified.

  However, many doctors and medical students disagree with the government. The conflict started when the internal documents from the Ministry of Health and Welfare were leaked. In those documents, before the bill for a public college of medicine was introduced by the National Assembly, the government had already bought the building sites in Namwon.

  Doctors all over the nation jointly stopped treatments, resident physicians in hospitals resigned, and medical students applied for leaves of absence and canceled the national medical examination. They dissented because there was not sufficient discussion on the national medical care system with those directly involved.

  The medical community stressed that the government should discuss the proposal with medical students because they would have to work with public college students in the proposed future national medical system.

  According to a local medical student who asked not to be named, they are acting out of responsibility for future medical education to prevent the degeneration of the medical community. Medical treatment and care are part of the public sector, so the government should not quickly introduce a bill without sufficient discussion. As most people think, doctors and medical students keep their work and their public duty.

  The student added that if the government wants to solve the regional medical service gaps, the most urgent measure is national improvement of treatment, medical fees, and the expense actualization of medical appliances.

  As of now, the government and the Korean Medical Association agreed to have a serious discussion after overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. Attention should be paid to the matter, including the direction of the public college of medicine.



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