The government has come under fire for announcing plans to strengthen health insurance protection without sufficient preparations to solve the resulting problem of workforce shortages.
Korea will require 122,164 more nurses, 1,613 pharmacists, and 785 doctors next year if the Moon Jae-in administration turns the presidential pledge into action, according to a Ministry of Health and Welfare report published Friday.
By 2030, the work force should further increase to 158,554 nurses, 10,742 pharmacists, and 7,646 doctors, the report said.
|Source: Ministry of Health and Welfare|
“Already, nurses are working in severely understaffed hospitals, leading to the phrase of ‘pregnancy waiting lists,’ but the government has announced the drastic healthcare reform plan without working out steps to solve the workforce shortage,” said Rep. Yang Seung-jo, a four-term lawmaker and chairman of the National Assembly Health and Welfare Committee.
The ministry announced a package for a smooth supply of nurses, which requires the revision of laws and regulations, but failed to come up with no concrete action plans, Rep. Yang noted.
Experts predict the problem will be exacerbated once the government puts the “Moon Jae-in care” into effect, starting next year.
Yang urged the ministry to move quickly, considering it takes four years for a student to graduate a nursing college. “The ministry should work toward creating higher-quality medical services and make sure citizens do not suffer because of the lack of medical staff by quickly setting up measures,” he added.
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