(LEAD) Yoon calls for utmost efforts to protect people’s lives amid threat of doctors’ walkout

SEOUL, President Yoon Suk Yeol called on the government Monday to make utmost efforts to protect the people's lives and health amid a looming walkout by doctors protesting a planned increase in the medical school enrollment quota, his office said. Yoon issued the call during his weekly meeting with Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, according to presidential spokesperson Kim Soo-kyung. "Please make utmost efforts in the response to protect the people's lives and health," he was quoted as saying. Trainee doctors at the country's five biggest hospitals, all located in Seoul, began submitting letters of resignation Monday in protest of the government's plan to increase the number of medical school admissions by 2,000 next year from the current 3,058. They plan to walk off the job starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday. No major disruption in the country's medical services has yet occurred. Yoon reportedly said the government won't surrender to the doctors' collective action this time as it did in 2014 and 2020, when it fail ed to adopt telemedicine services and to increase the medical school enrollment quota, respectively. The government argues an increase is necessary to address the shortage of doctors, especially in rural areas and in essential medical fields, while doctors' groups counter a better solution would be to boost their compensation and ensure protection against malpractice suits, among other things. The number of doctors in the country relative to the size of the population is among the lowest in the developed world, according to health authorities. Source: Yonhap News Agency