Health minister renews commitment to accomplish medical reform

Health Minister Cho Kyoo-hong renewed his vow to accomplish medical reform Thursday, although a mass walkout by trainee doctors in protest of the reform has crippled public health services for about two months. About 12,000 trainee doctors have left their worksites since Feb. 20 in the walkout against the government's push to hike the annual enrollment of medical students by 2,000 starting next year. "The medical reform is essential to protect the lives and health of the people, to enhance local and essential medical services, and to prepare for future demand," Cho said at a government response meeting. "We plan to gather reasonable opinions from different sectors and carry out the reform unwaveringly," the minister said. Some media reports have said last week's parliamentary election outcome may affect the medical reform by the government of President Yoon Suk Yeol because Yoon's ruling party suffered a crushing defeat. But Cho's remarks were seen as indicating that the government will continue to push the medical reform forward. Since the election defeat, Yoon has vowed to accelerate the implementation of policies that are helpful to the people while filling any gaps by collecting public opinion through town halls. He indicated, however, that he has no intention of backing down from his plans to increase admissions at medical schools. Source: Yonhap News Agency