Seoul mayor vows to build hospital for disabled

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Seoul mayor vows to build hospital for disabled

Seoul will get a new public rehab hospital specializing in treating people with disabilities, Mayor Park Won-soon announced Monday.  
 
Starting this month, Park said his office will run a feasibility test on the plan and scout for a suitable site for the hospital, which is expected to serve some 394,000 people living in Seoul with disabilities.  
 
The message was included in a video Park uploaded on Democracy Seoul, an online platform run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government that gathers policy recommendations from Seoul citizens.  
 
“There’s a 'golden time' for people with disabilities trying to go through rehab,” Park said. The Seoul government will “aggressively pursue” the hospital idea so that people with disabilities can gain access to the best treatment, he noted.
 
Seoul's government office promised additional measures for the city’s disabled, including the establishment of a children’s hospital in Gangbuk District, northern Seoul, by 2025, where children with acute diseases or other special needs can seek care. The children’s hospital will include a rehab center for young children with disabilities, the city said.  
 
Seoul is also planning to expand medical rehab programs for teens in two new public medical centers for the disabled that are slated to be built next year in the southeastern and northeastern parts of the city.  
 
Calls for a public rehab hospital dedicated to patients with disabilities emerged last October on the Democracy Seoul website when a Seoul citizen who goes by the name Lee Jeong-ok uploaded a post raising the need for one.  
 
In the post, Lee pointed out the absence of a rehab hospital for the disabled in Seoul – despite the fact that the city has the highest number of people with disabilities in the country – and accused society of ignoring rehab programs for teenagers.
 
The post received over 1,000 “likes” on the website - enough to be flagged by the city government as a subject of further online debate and later receive a response from the city mayor. Some 1,120 people participated in the online debate and Park’s response was uploaded on the website Monday.  
 
BY LEE SUNG-EUN   [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]
 

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