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Non-face-to-face treatment allowed for first visit to disperse ‘mild medical demand’

Expanding the role of PA nurses to assist doctors, ‘doctor substitute’

15 military hospitals and 114 public medical institutions nationwide offer ‘emergency treatment’

Park Min-soo, Second Vice Minister of Health and Welfare (2024.2.14)

Park Min-soo, Second Vice Minister of Health and Welfare (2024.2.14)

(Seoul = Larose.VIP) Reporter Kwon Ji-hyun = As residents at the ‘Big 5’ hospitals protested against the expansion of medical schools and announced mass resignation, the government’s steps to prepare for the possibility of a ‘medical catastrophe’ becoming a reality are also accelerating.

The Big Five hospitals include Seoul National University, Severance, Samsung Seoul, Seoul Asan, and Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital.

If the residents who form the backbone of medical practice at these large hospitals, which are the core of essential medical care, leave the field all at once, a medical crisis is bound to occur.

All residents at the Big 5 hospitals announced on the 16th that they would submit their resignations by the 19th and stop working after 6 a.m. on the 20th.

The medical crisis measures currently being prepared by the government can be broadly divided into three categories: ▲ comprehensive expansion of non-face-to-face medical treatment ▲ expansion of the role of PA (Physician Assistant) nurses ▲ utilization of public medical institutions.

Citizens waiting for a large general hospital shuttle bus

Citizens waiting for a large general hospital shuttle bus

◇ Non-face-to-face medical treatment will be fully expanded, and PA nurses will play the role of ‘doctor substitutes’.

Currently, non-face-to-face treatment is, in principle, allowed only for repeat visits, and as an exception, first visits are allowed only in medically vulnerable areas, holidays, and at night.

However, if collective action by residents spreads across the country, there is a possibility that non-face-to-face treatment will be ‘fully permitted from the first visit’ for a limited time.

As awareness and use of non-face-to-face treatment has already increased among patients through the COVID-19 pandemic, the plan is to utilize this to disperse the medical needs of patients with mild symptoms.

After first visits on holidays and at night were allowed at the end of last year, the use of non-face-to-face medical treatment increased about four-fold in December alone, and when non-face-to-face first visits are fully permitted, the number of users is expected to increase sharply.

PA nurses are personnel who partially take on the role of doctors and support doctors during surgeries, tests, and emergency situations. They are called ‘operating room nurses’ or ‘clinical nurses’, and it is known that there are more than 10,000 of them working across the country.

Since they have been performing some of the work performed by medical residents even in normal times, it is expected that if their role is expanded, it will be a significant help in resolving the medical gap.

Civic groups, such as the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice, are already claiming that “in the event of collective action by medical residents, a presidential emergency order must be issued allowing PA nurses to practice medicine.”

Both the legalization of PA nurses and the comprehensive expansion of non-face-to-face treatment are policies strongly opposed by the medical community.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s mention of this can be interpreted as an intention to ‘pressure’ the medical community while preparing for a medical vacuum situation when doctors take collective action.

The future of the medical field

The future of the medical field

If there are concerns about a medical crisis, the government plans to actively utilize approximately 230 public medical institutions across the country.

In addition to the National Medical Center and local medical centers, public medical institutions include national university hospitals under the Ministry of Education, National Health Insurance Corporation hospitals, and hospitals under the Korean Red Cross.

Among these, there are about 114 public medical institutions that provide general treatment in essential medical fields.

The government plans to extend treatment hours at these 114 public medical institutions to accommodate patients who cannot receive treatment due to collective action by residents.

When public medical institutions extend their working hours, we also actively support costs such as labor costs.

The government plans to mobilize 15 military hospitals across the country to provide emergency medical services, including surgery.

Vice Minister of Health and Welfare Park Min-soo said, “We have completed discussions with the Ministry of National Defense to allow civilians to receive emergency treatment at military hospitals that treat soldiers. If the situation worsens, we are even considering a plan to secure additional manpower and deploy it to the field.” He said.

Currently, there are 13 military hospitals under the Medical Command and one district hospital each operated by the Air Force and Navy, and these hospitals located throughout the country will be utilized to provide emergency medical care.

Military hospitals in Seoul and Gyeonggi region include Seoul District Hospital, Armed Forces Capital Hospital, Goyang Hospital, Yangju Hospital, and Pocheon Hospital. Emergency patients in the metropolitan area are expected to be able to use some of these areas.

Vice Minister Park emphasized, “In the event of collective action (by doctors), the government will use all available means to avoid a situation where the lives and health of the people are threatened.”


Report to KakaoTalk okjebo 2024/02/16 11:48 Sent

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