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Lawmakers to meet with SNU medical professors on eve of planned walkout for breakthrough

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A patient waits for her turn to meet a doctor at a hospital in Seoul, June 13. Yonhap

A patient waits for her turn to meet a doctor at a hospital in Seoul, June 13. Yonhap

Lawmakers of the parliamentary health committee will meet with medical professors of Seoul National University (SNU) next week to seek a breakthrough over their planned strike against the government's medical reform plan, officials said Thursday.

Last week, professors, who serve as senior doctors at hospitals affiliated with SNU, announced a decision to indefinitely suspend their hospital operations starting June 17 in support of trainee doctors who have left their worksites since February against the government's medical school enrollment quota increase.

With no immediate breakthrough having been made over the conflict between the government and the medical community, the lawmakers of the parliamentary health and welfare committee will hold dialogue with SNU professors on Sunday to discuss the issue, according to the officials.

"We received a proposal for talks with the National Assembly yesterday. We've yet to set details about what to discuss, but we will ask what they can do to help resolve the situation," an official of the SNU's emergency response committee for professors said.

The SNU professors have said they will go ahead with the indefinite strike until the government admits to its responsibility for causing the current medical crisis and take practical measures.

The emergency committee met with Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Tuesday and called for the government's role to address the issue.

The government has also said it has continued to have talks with doctors, though there seems little progress.

The envisioned operation suspension will come as the Korea Medical Association, a major lobby group for doctors, decided to go on a one-day strike June 18, which could involve community doctors and medical professors.

Despite fierce opposition, the government finalized the increase of the medical school admissions quota by around 1,500 seats late last month in an effort to address the shortage of doctors. It was the first such increase in 27 years. (Yonhap)


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