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Why can’t we prevent emergency patients from dying without medical treatment? Aren’t there enough doctors available to treat patients? Actually, about 5,000 new doctors are coming out in Japan every year, but fewer new doctors want to be surgeons.

Formerly, most doctors in Japan belonged to Ikyoku or the University Medical Bureau, where they voluntarily underwent training and from where some were dispatched to local hospitals or clinics to work. But this situation dramatically changed in 2005 when it became mandatory for new doctors to have two years of training. Most new doctors requested to have the training at hospitals in big cities. That made the situation worse because hospitals in big cities had to recall their doctors working at local hospitals to train the new doctors. As a result, the number of doctors working at local hospitals has dramatically decreased, as have the number of new doctors who belong to Ikyoku.

To solve this problem, medical universities and colleges should train their new doctors just as Ikyoku used to do, and the government must dramatically increase subsidies to those colleges and universities that give allowance incentives to doctors who volunteer to work at local hospitals.

misao nakaya