Aftereffects of giving up hiring interns… Fears of medical system collapse become real

Aftereffects of giving up hiring interns…  Fears of medical system collapse become real


‘Big 5 hospitals’ highly dependent on medical residents’ emergency status

Out of a total of 3,068 people, only 131 people registered.
Seoul National University Hospital 3.6%, Severance 2.6%
Additional support available in September or next year
“It seems like there will be a gap in my major for the next 4 to 5 years.”

Despite encouraging the government to switch to a specialist system,
Hospitals ask, “How can we survive the transition period?” ”

This year, 96% of interns scheduled to work at teaching hospitals across the country have given up their appointments, raising concerns about a collapse of the medical system due to a ‘chain effect’. As the management crisis continues at the ‘Big 5’ hospitals, which entrusted hospital rooms to residents who were often overworked and underpaid, there is also a growing sense of crisis that the gap in residents will continue for the next four to five years. Although the government said it would reorganize into a specialist system, hospitals are complaining that “even if we use PA nurses, military doctors, and public health doctors, it is difficult to survive without the return of medical residents.”

Patients are waiting for treatment at a university hospital in Seoul on the 3rd. yunhap news

◆96% of interns give up, ‘chain effect’

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare on the 3rd, only 131 out of 3,068 people (4.3%) registered for the 2024 intern appointment registration, which closed at midnight the previous day.

In the case of the ‘Big 5’ hospitals, which have a high ratio of medical residents and poor training environments, the registration status is even more shabby. Seoul National University Hospital is said to have only registered 6 interns (3.6%) out of 166 students, and Severance Hospital has also registered only 4 out of 151 (2.6%).

Considering the doctor training and nurturing system, which usually starts with a one-year internship, then continues with a three- to four-year residency, and then to a full-time doctor (fellow) after obtaining a specialty, it is obvious that this year’s gap in internship will cause a manpower gap for the next four to five years.

Park Min-soo, Second Vice Minister of Health and Welfare, said at a briefing at the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters on this day, “Interns and residents must complete a designated training period to proceed to the next course or obtain specialist qualifications, but I am concerned that only 131 out of 3,068 interns are currently registered.” I admitted it.

As intern registration closes in the first half of this year, you will have to register if there is a vacancy in September or reapply as an intern in March of next year to train. The possibility of extending intern registration was raised, but Vice Minister Park only said, “We will review whether there are other additional methods.”

Prime Minister Han Deok-soo visits hospitalized doctor while caring for patient Prime Minister Han Deok-soo visited Jeju Halla Hospital in Jeju City on the 3rd and comforted Cho Seong-won, head of the Department of Cardiology, who was hospitalized due to accumulated fatigue after suffering from heavy workload in the aftermath of the mass resignation of residents and full-time residents that lasted for over a month. Jeju = Yonhap News

◆They say they will increase the number of specialists… ‘Big 5’ etc. stumbled

With the disappearance of interns this year, the ‘Big 5’ hospitals, which have relied heavily on residents, are facing a significant sense of crisis. Most hospitals are already consolidating wards to fill gaps in medical specialties. An official from one hospital complained, “We are sending patients to partner hospitals because we don’t have anyone to perform gastroscopy, and since we are reducing surgeries because there is no surgical assistance, all the test fees, treatment fees, and surgery fees are being lost.” This means that the situation, where a deficit of hundreds of millions of won per day is accumulating due to the absence of interns, could worsen.

An official from one of the ‘Big 5’ hospitals said, “A structure with a high degree of dependence on medical residents has been created in terms of low wages and efficiency. There is no hospital that has no plans to break away from this structure, but I am worried about how they will survive the transition period.” Another ‘Big 5’ hospital official said, “Right now, interns are not of much help and only residents in their second or third year of residency will play a role.” He also added, “The work done by 10 residents can be done with 3 specialists or 7 PA nurses.” “It seems like the direction is to leave it to , but it’s bound to cost a lot more,” he confessed.

The government is encouraging a shift to a specialist-centered system through policy, such as recognizing the number of residents as ‘0.5’ of specialists in hospital manpower requirements. However, it is difficult to improve one’s constitution in a short period of time. The salary of a specialist is 3 to 4 times that of a medical resident, and the salary of a PA nurse is also higher than that of a medical resident.

Professors are submitting their resignations at a university hospital in downtown Seoul on the 3rd. News 1

Medical school professors, who suffered from heavy workload while guarding the hospital during a gap in residency, asked the authorities to strengthen labor supervision at teaching hospitals.

In an official letter sent to the Ministry of Employment and Labor the day before, the National Association of Medical Professors (KMA) stated, “The rapid increase in workload for professors at teaching hospitals has led to increased fatigue, burnout, and deaths due to overwork, posing a serious threat to patient safety.” “Please strengthen labor supervision for violations such as long working hours and 36-hour continuous shifts by professors who are overworked,” he said.

Medical staff are moving at a university hospital in Seoul on the 3rd. Yeonhap New

◆There is a lot of debate over the possibility of dialogue with the President.

As the medical gap is growing, President Yoon Seok-yeol has reached out to talk with residents, but the residents are not responding. Cho Yoon-jeong, the public relations committee chairman of the Korean Medical Association, who had urged President Yoon the previous day to “talk to the residents” and told the residents to “accept unconditionally if the president calls,” resigned on this day. He said, “It was completely contrary to our intention, and the position of the Korean Medical Association was put in an awkward position.” The explanation is that it was a ‘personal opinion’ to ask residents to meet the president ‘without any conditions.’ The Korean Medical Association will suspend press briefings for the time being.

The National Medical School Faculty Emergency Response Committee (Jeonuibi) said, “In principle, we welcome the President’s Office proposal for dialogue between the president and residents,” but added, “However, if they ask to meet unconditionally, the proposal for dialogue is not sincere.” “As a prerequisite for dialogue, please first propose the condition that we will consult with the medical community to come up with a reasonable plan,” he said. The emergency committee of the Korean Medical Association (KMA) said, “It is welcome that a direct meeting between the president and residents was proposed by the emergency committee last week.” He continued, “It is difficult to answer right now whether the residents will meet or not.”

Reporters Jae-young Jeong, Jin-soo Jeong, Hee-yeon Jo, and Ji-min Lee

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