South Korea to face shortage of medical workers
Angela Jung, May 3, 2017, 9:22 a.m.
South Korea will be confronted with a severe shortage of medical sector workers in the coming years as demand for health care services exceeds supply, a local report said Wednesday. In the report on the long-term outlook for medical service personnel, the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs estimated the country will face a shortage of 110,000 nurses by 2020 with numbers hitting 158,000 by 2030.
In addition to the existing workforce, an additional 1,800 doctors and 7,000 pharmacists will be needed by 2020, with requirements rising to 7,600 and 10,000 by 2030, the report said.
"The demand for nurses and other health care services is on the rise due to rapid aging and growing attention to health care services. Moreover, foreigners (mainly from Asian countries) are increasingly coming here to receive medical attention that can exacerbate the shortfall in the medical workforce," the institute said.
The number of medical workers per 1,000 people stood at 2.3 for doctors and six for other medical staff in South Korea in 2015. This is lower than the average of 3.3 and 9.5 for the 34 member states in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare recently said it will have hospitals and other medical facilities hire more staff workers to help meet rising demand.