SEOUL, Feb.24 (Korea Bizwire) – As the time of the year when hospitals recruit new medical residents approaches, professors of urology grow fretful in fear that there will not be many applicants.
The number of applicants is declining each year, and urologists are worried that the study itself might someday disappear because of a lack of interest on the part of students.
The Korea Urological Association held a conference discussing ways to overcome the critical situation, and implemented measures including the establishment of a task force with a mandate to overcome the crisis.
The association is insisting that urology departments should get the same benefits and support that other ‘less-popular clinics’ such as the departments of surgery, thoracic surgery, and gynecology have been receiving.
According to data held by the association, the rate of secured medical residents in urology departments has tumbled in recent years, reaching 47 percent in 2012, 44.8 percent in 2013, 26.1 percent in 2014, 40.2 percent in 2015 and 29.3 percent in 2016.
Officials from the urological association warn that if applications continue to remain low, training programs will collapse, and in the end, the study itself could disappear.
The tally from December 31, 2015 shows that there are no medical residents in the urology departments at four out of 10 university hospitals.
A total of 31 organizations among the 78 teaching hospitals had no urology specialists (39.74 percent), and 19 facilities only had one specialist (24.35 percent).
The association pointed out that the reason young doctors are trying to avoid urology is because of increased uncertainty over their future. Medical facilities are not recruiting urology specialists due to the high costs and low demand.
Association officials explain that recently some independent urologists have given up their specialty and switched to hospitals that practice general medicine. Even at general hospitals, cases in which urologists are asked to switch specialties are increasing.
The association claims that the government should step up to support urology, as the collapse of the study could lead to a public health risk.
Urologists from the association point out that even though the field is suffering through a difficult period, it is neglected in terms of government support due to a lack of social issues. “If measures are not taken, Koreans might have to go abroad to get operations for prostate cancer,” officials noted.
By M.H.Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)