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Government: “Demand for medical care is rapidly increasing due to aging…after 10 years, hospitalization days will increase by 45% and outpatient treatment will increase by 13%.”

“The number of doctors per population has increased rapidly due to the decrease in births… Developed countries are cautious about expanding the number of doctors.”

In major countries such as Germany and the UK, it is ‘true’ that medical schools are increasing significantly in response to aging populations.

Battle of the rivers

Battle of the rivers

(Seoul = Larose.VIP) Reporter Kim Byeong-gyu and Kwon Ji-hyun = In the same situation where ‘low birth rate and aging population’ is progressing at an unprecedented rate around the world, the government and medical community are giving opposite diagnoses as to whether it is necessary to increase the number of medical schools.

The government is using the rapidly increasing demand for medical services due to the aging population as the main basis for a large increase in the number of medical schools, but the medical community is using the logic that the number of doctors per capita will increase rapidly due to the population decline, leading to a situation where there will be a surplus of doctors.

Although the logic of both sides is conflicting, it appears to be true that major developed countries are significantly increasing the number of doctors in preparation for aging populations.

Residents who have been away from the hospital for three days…  Jeonbuk Provincial Medical Association rally

Residents who have been away from the hospital for three days… Jeonbuk Provincial Medical Association rally

◇ The number of people receiving treatment is rapidly increasing, and the number of doctors retiring is also increasing… “Doctor shortage, planned future”

At a briefing on the 22nd, Vice Minister of Health and Welfare Park Min-soo once again emphasized the need to increase the number of medical schools, saying, “There is a shortage of doctors due to the increase in medical demand due to aging and doctors retiring.”

As a result of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s analysis based on data from the National Health Insurance Corporation and the National Statistical Office, the total number of hospitalization days for the entire population in 2035 is expected to be 200.5 million days. Compared to the number of hospitalization days for the entire population in 2022 (138 million days), this is a 45.3% increase.

During this period, the number of hospital outpatient visits was also predicted to increase by 12.8%, from 930 million days to 1.06 billion days. As income increases, medical consumption tends to increase, and even if we exclude the variable called ‘income elasticity’, it is expected that medical use will increase due to population aging alone.

According to statistics from the National Statistical Office, the elderly population aged 80 or older in Korea in 2035 is expected to rapidly increase by 82.7% compared to 2022.

Growing public interest in health checkups is also expected to accelerate the increase in medical use. The finances invested in health checkups have nearly doubled from 1.9286 trillion won in 2013 to 3.8 trillion won in 2022.

Vice Minister Park mentioned these statistics again today and emphasized, “It is a predicted future that medical demand will increase explosively due to the increase in the elderly population.”

He said that in addition to these variables, the decrease in doctors’ working hours and the increase in the number of elderly doctors should also be considered.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, with the application of the 80-hour cap on average working hours for majors, the weekly working hours of majors decreased by 14 hours in six years from 92 hours in 2016 to 78 hours in 2022. The average weekly working hours of doctors also decreased by about 6 hours, from 54.5 hours in 2007 to 48.1 hours in 2020.

The number of doctors over the age of 70 is expected to increase to two out of ten in 2035, three times the current level.

Vice Minister Park said, “Medical organizations set the growth rate of the number of doctors compared to the previous year at 2.84% (average growth rate from 2010 to 2020), but looking at the recent trend of a significant increase in the number of retired doctors due to the aging of doctors, the growth rate is lowered to 1.67%.” “Doctors from the baby boomer generation and doctors who are subject to the graduation quota system will retire in large numbers,” he predicted.

In the 1980s, an additional 30% of students were selected through the ‘Graduation Quota System’ from the Class of 1981 to the Class of 1986. This means that they are retiring in large numbers.

Doctors remaining in the medical field

Doctors remaining in the medical field

◇ Medical Association “Even if we leave the medical school quota alone, the number of doctors per capita will increase rapidly due to the decrease in the number of births.”

The main basis for the claim by the medical community, including the Korean Medical Association, that there is ‘no shortage of doctors’ is the rapid decline in birth rates.

Lee Dong-wook, chairman of the Gyeonggi Provincial Medical Association, said in a TV debate on the 20th, “Increasing the number of medical schools when there are 1 million students taking the test is different from increasing the number of students when there are 250,000 students.” “It will increase to 40%,” he claimed.

Joo Su-ho, public relations chairman of the Emergency Response Committee of the Korean Medical Association, said, “The population under the age of 15 in Korea has decreased by about 4 million over 23 years, while the number of pediatric specialists has increased by 2,900.” “The problem of the essential medical care crisis is not due to a shortage of doctors,” he said.

Woo Bong-sik, director of the Medical Association’s Medical Policy Research Institute, said that if the number of doctors per 1,000 people is calculated based on the average growth rate of doctors from 2010 to 2020 and the future population of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), even if the number of medical school seats is maintained as is without increasing the number of medical schools, the OECD average will be reached by 2063. It was suggested that if the number of people increased by 1,000, the average could be surpassed in 2055.

Regarding the increase in medical demand due to aging, the Korean Medical Association argues that “since an increase in the number of doctors leads to an increase in medical costs, most OECD countries are taking a very cautious approach to increasing the number of doctors.” In particular, it gives the example of Japan, which experienced aging at an early stage.

Director Woo said, “Despite Japan’s continued aging population, total medical and care costs, including medical and care costs, are expected to peak at $356.4 billion by 2034.” “We believe that increasing the number of doctors is not necessary and are reviewing the ‘doctor training personnel policy’ to reduce the number of medical school students after 2022,” he said.

“Unprepared medical school expansion undermines medical education.”

“Unprepared medical school expansion undermines medical education.”

◇ France, Germany, UK, etc. are increasing the number of doctors in preparation for aging population… 5 times that of the UK and Korea

Putting aside the controversy over whether the increase in medical demand due to aging or the decrease in medical demand due to low birth rate will be greater, it is not difficult to find examples of other countries experiencing the same low birth rate and aging population preparing for this by increasing the number of doctors.

In Germany (83.17 million people), which has a slightly larger population than Korea, the total number of students in public medical schools exceeds 9,000, but it has been decided to increase this to about 15,000.

The United Kingdom (67.08 million people), which has a population similar to ours, recruited a total of 8,639 students from 42 medical schools in 2020, and plans to increase this number to 15,000 by 2031.

The number of medical schools in Germany and the UK is currently five times larger than the number of medical schools in Korea.

In the case of France, the frozen medical school quota was released in 2021, and Japan expanded the medical school quota over the past 10 years, increasing the number of doctors by about 43,000.

.Despite these attempts to increase the number of doctors, it is difficult to find cases overseas where doctors take collective action against the expansion of medical schools.

The Japan Medical Association met with an official from the Ministry of Health and Welfare and said, “When we promoted the expansion of medical schools, there was a social consensus about the shortage of doctors, so there was no opposition from the association, and selection based on a regional framework also helped persuade doctors.” .

In a meeting with Vice Minister of Health and Welfare Lee Ki-il and Korean reporters last year, Thomas Steffen, German Federal Vice Minister of Health, announced plans to increase the number of medical school students by more than 5,000 within the year as “Germany’s medical school quota is also insufficient,” adding, “There are people in Germany who are opposed to expanding the medical school quota.” “There is no doctor,” he said.

Patient heading to ambulance for medical treatment

Patient heading to ambulance for medical treatment

bkkim@yna.co.kr, fat@yna.co.kr

Report to KakaoTalk okjebo 2024/02/22 17:30 Sent

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