Time limit set for fate of Jinju hospital

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Time limit set for fate of Jinju hospital

The South Gyeongsang Provincial Government and union members of Jinju Medical Center agreed yesterday to a one-month time limit to reach middle ground over the fate of the public medical facility.

Two union members also decided to put an end to their protest at the top of a steel tower on the hospital building. The two - Park Seok-yong, 45, and Kang Su-dong, 47 - were arrested for trespassing.

The agreement represents a reconciliation effort to ease a simmering row over the past few days between the two parties after the provincial government ordered the cash-strapped institution to suspend its service, citing financial reasons, on April 3.

Despite objections from the union members and some of the public and lawmakers, South Gyeongsang Governor Hong Joon-pyo of the governing conservative Saenuri Party pressed ahead with the congressional procedure to permanently close the 102-year-old hospital, stressing the accumulated losses amounted to 28 billion won ($24.98 million).

The proposal aimed at closing the public medical center was supposed to be voted on last Thursday, but opposition party members barred the plenary session from going ahead, occupying the hall of the South Gyeongsang Provincial Council. Leading members of the council then pushed the vote back. The proposal is now scheduled to be voted on at a special session in June.

Once put to a vote, the bill is likely to be passed, as members of the Saenuri Party hold the majority in the council.

An emergency meeting between council members is scheduled to be held either tomorrow or Friday, but it’s not likely to result in any decisive measures.

By Park Eun-jee [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]
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