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Save Jinju medical centre and public health care in Korea

05 April 2013
Demostrators holding a banner
In South Korea, local medical clinics run by provincial governments exist around the country. These clinics are essential to providing needed healthcare services to rural and low income families and patients.

In February 2013, the provincial government of South Geongsang Province announced its plan to close the medical center in Jinju, citing the medical center’s deficit as the reason.

In response the patients at the clinic faced with forced discharge have begun to protest. The clinic workers have also been struggling to keep the clinic open, and nurses have begun a hunger strike.

Recognizing the closure of the Jinju Medical Center and the cancellation of another medical center as dangerous attacks on public healthcare and trade union rights, the PSI-affiliated KHMU, other Korean PSI affiliates and the entire Korean labor movement planned a national workers’ rally for April 13.

PSI sent a letter of protest to the government on 22 March (see attachment below).

(Update 3 June)

One hundred days after the start of the struggle, KHMU organised a series of press conferences, rallies, demonstrations, hunger strikes, hair-shaving strikes and "occupy" struggles. KHMU president, sister Yoo Ji-hyun shaved her hair as part of the struggle.

PSI sent a protest letter to the government (see attached). Despite visits of members of the parliament (the National Assembly) to Jinju Medical Center to show their support and solidarity for the struggle, the provincial government officially declared the shutdown of Jinju Medical Center. If the provincial assembly passed its regulation to approve the shutdown between 11 and 18 June, the procedure to close down the medical center would be completed.

The public opinions have been very critical to the stubborn position of the provincial government across the nation. On 31 May the National Assembly agreed to hold a special investigation on this case under the name of "normalization of public healthcare".


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