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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 February 7 - 13  > Shortage of doctors shows adverse effect of LDP’s structural reform policies: JCP policy document
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2007 February 7 - 13 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Shortage of doctors shows adverse effect of LDP’s structural reform policies: JCP policy document

February 8, 2007
The JCP formulated a policy dealing with the shortage of physicians, which has become a serious social problem, in defense of local medical services.

The Japanese Communist Party formulated a policy dealing with the shortage of physicians, which has become a serious social problem, in defense of local medical services. On February 7, JCP Policy Commission Chair Koike Akira announced this at a press conference in the Diet.

Main points of the policy are:
(i) urgent measures to restore and maintain obstetrics and pediatrics in order to defend the health of pregnant women, nursing mothers, and infants;
(ii) measures to drastically increase medical doctors;
(iii) measures to provide environment in which hospital doctors can work free of anxiety and to strengthen the safety of medical services;
(iv) to end the structural reform policy that deprives the public of the right to receive medical services and to revive local medical services by improving the public health insurance system and the public medical services;
(v) to have the national government fulfill its responsibility and drastically increase its assistance to the prefectural governments in dispatching doctors to rural areas and hospital departments, which are experiencing a shortage of doctors.

Regarding obstetrics and pediatrics which require urgent measures, Koike cited the fact that the number of national hospitals with the obstetrics and gynecology department has decreased to 35 percent of ten years ago, a much higher rate than the decrease in the number of national hospitals. He said, “The national government has been taking the lead in shutting down obstetrics departments. The government must end its policy of abandoning obstetrics and pediatrics departments in public hospitals.”

He also pointed out that the government has restrained the training of doctors by adopting a cabinet decision to reduce the quota of medical schools and that as a result of this government policy, Japan ranks 27th among the 30 OECD member countries in terms of clinical doctors per capital. He emphasized the need to end the government policy of restraining the number of doctors and to drastically increase the number of doctors.

“The shortage of doctors shows in the most urgent and serious way the adverse effect that the Koizumi and Abe cabinets’ structural reform policies have brought about on local residents’ living conditions. The government must replace the ‘small government’ policy of harming health and neglecting its responsibility with a policy based on the equality of life,” Koike said.

He said the JCP will make this proposal widely known to the public through discussions in the Diet and campaigns for the nationwide simultaneous local elections and House of Councilors election. Sending out this policy document to all 9,000 hospitals across the country, the JCP will also engage in activities to exchange views on this issue with a wide range of medical professionals and local residents taking part in movements in defense of hospitals.
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