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A Need to Set up Medical Universities and Hospitals in Pohang

2020.07.09

As the government announced a policy to establish a new medical school and increase the number of admissions, the necessity to establish a research-oriented medical school and hospital promoted by Pohang, Gyeongbuk, has been called on to balance the regional development.

In this medical talent expansion plan, the government did not mention the building of a research-oriented medical university and hospitals in Pohang, but the government has strong commitment to promoting the development of medical services in less developed areas.

Since the Pohang Research-oriented Medical School and Hospital were not mentioned in the plan to expand the medical workforce, there exists a great demand that the government promote medical development on the remote regions

In fact, Pohang is an ideal place to set up a research-oriented medical university and hospital as state-of-the-art scientific infrastructures such as Pohang University of Science and Technology and the Radiation Accelerator Institute have been established. In addition, Bio App, the world's leading biological application software for plant vaccines, and Hanmi Science, the largest pharmaceutical company in Korea, have stepped up in developing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines

Song Kyeong Chang, Deputy Mayor of Pohang said, "When Pohang research-oriented medical center and hospital are established, it is the first research-oriented city model in Korea where it could attract worldwide attention and investment and become a paradigm demonstrating the excellence of medical standards of South Korea." He also added, "in order to designate Pohang as a centralized park for advanced medical research in South Korea, we need to overcome political issues and regional emtions."

According to the government's document ‘Expanding Enrollment of Medical Universities and Promoting the Establishment of Public Medical Universities’ issued on the 9th, the government will add 4,000 medical personnel within 10 years, including △ 3,000 local doctors (eliminating gaps between local severe and essential medical care) △ 500 doctors in special fields such as epidemiologists, severe trauma, pediatric surgery and △ 500 researchers in basic science, pharmacy, biology and other applied fields".

Local doctors will be selected from a medical university through the "special employment of local doctors system". As a condition for offering scholarships, graduates need to provide basic medical services locally for a certain period of time. If students do not comply with the required service regulations, the scholarship will be withdrawn and the doctor's license will be canceled or terminated.

The quota allocation of specialized doctors will be decided after the evaluation of university training programs.

The government will evaluate the performance of the trained personnel three years after quota allocation of medical university. If any unqualified personnel are to be found, the allocation will be cancelled.

Apart from the expansion of admissions to the medical university, the building of "public medical university" is also promoted. First, 49 quotas from Seonam University's College of Medicine, which were closed, will be used to set up a medical university in the Jeonbuk region, and another 20 long-term military medical students will be added, bringing the total number to 70.

The establishment of medical university in Jeonnam, the only region among the 17 provinces, where there is no medical university at all, will be discussed separately.

The expansion of the number of doctors is one of the promises from the Democratic Party in the 21st general election.

The promise was to address the insufficient number of local doctors (the number of active doctors per 1,000 population is only 2.4, which is below the OECD's average of 3.4.) and the imbalance distribution of local medical personnel as the majority of medical talents tend to go to the capital region where medical institutions above the level of general hospitals are concentrated.

The Blue House, the government, and the ruling party will announce plans to expand the number of doctors this month as soon as they reach an agreement.

The Blue House and the ruling party once had disagreement over the introduction of a local doctor, but it was reported that it has been confirmed at the Blue House chief and aide conference last month.

At present, the annual enrollment of medical universities is 3,058. During the Kim Young-sam administration, the number had increased to 3,253 with developing 9 medical schools that had a capacity of 40 students. However, during the doctor's strike against the medical division in 2000, the quota was reduced by 10% and has been stopped for 15 years since then.

Source: Gyeongbuk Daily