The problem of the medical gap in our society is getting worse day by day. As there are no large hospitals near the residence and insufficient sick beds, various medical problems that create emergencies in ambulances are rising to the surface.
Korea’s medical problems can be primarily divided into the medical gap between regions and the lack of sick beds, doctors, and medical staff. The ‘2019 National Land Monitoring Report,’ released by the National Geographic Information Institute of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, highlights the substantial medical disparities. According to the statistics of the vulnerable population living 20 minutes (10km) away from emergency medical facilities, Seoul accounted for 0.02% of the population with 443. However, the Gyeongsangbuk-do region showed a big gap of 312,518, accounting for 43.24%. As seen from this, it can be explicitly confirmed that the level of medical facility installation between regions makes a difference.
Next, several casualties have occurred due to the lack of sick beds and medical staff, emerging as a big problem. On May 31, an older man was in a car accident and was being transported by ambulance, which asked the nearest large hospitals to accept the patients. However, the hospital notified the ambulance of their inability to accept the patient due to a lack of intensive care sick beds. Eventually, the older man died of cardiac arrest while heading to a hospital 100km away.
The number of sick beds in Korea is similar to many of the OECD countries. However, sick beds in the most prominent hospitals are concentrated in metropolitan areas and large cities. Since the imbalance of regional sick beds exists, there is a difference in the distribution of doctors. On June 10, the medical community said that the biggest weakness in the emergency medical system is the lack of specialized medical doctors.
On October 19, the government announced a jurisdictional shift from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. This move aims to prevent the collapse of local medical care by fostering the National University Hospital as the core of the essential medical system, addressing this issue. Finally, it also revealed its willingness to improve the compensation system for medical personnel treating these patients.