Health ministry expected to unveil medical school quota hikes Tuesday

SEOUL, South Korea’s health ministry is expected to make a decision on the enrollment quota hikes for medical schools as it is set to hold a meeting on medical workforce policies this week, an official said Monday.

Last week, the government said South Korea is anticipated to fall short of around 15,000 doctors in 2035, and that the upcoming increase will consider this estimate. If decided, it will be the first hike of the medical school enrollment quota in 19 years.

The meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, is expected to determine the extent of the expansion, currently capped at 3,058, with pundits suggesting a potential increase of up to 2,000.

“Considering the sensitivity of the issue, the government is considering announcing the scope of the increase on the day the policy meeting is held,” a health ministry official told Yonhap News Agency.

The government has been making efforts to persuade the local medical community to increase the quota amid the lingering shortage of doctors in non-metropolitan and remo
te areas, as well as in the essential medicine field, including pediatrics and emergency care.

South Korea vowed to provide a set of incentives for the medical community, including allocating 10 trillion won (US$7.5 billion) by 2028 to enhance compensation for medical services in crucial areas and to attract more doctors to practice in such sectors with higher risks.

The government said it will also institute a “safety net” to limit doctors’ criminal liability in cases of malpractice, aiming to allow health care professionals to prioritize emergency treatments while ensuring swift compensation for patients.

Source: Yonhap News Agency