James Cook University ISSN 1445-6354
Public health doctors (PHD) in South Korea serve the medically underserved region of South Korea as part of national service duty, but their number is declining in recent years (due to change in medical education system). Therefore, there is an increasing need to deploy public health doctors efficiently. Consisting of 2138 medical doctors of different specialties, they serve as both primary care physician and public health expert. The purpose of this study is to investigate the appropriateness of tasks of PHDs in South Korea. Of the 2138 PHDs, 1015 participated in the survey. Most PHDs perform primary care and vaccination duties (96.8% and 85.8%). PHDs evaluated the appropriateness of task and number of PHDs as above midpoint of Likert 5-point scale (3.5±1.1 and 3.4±1.1). Also, majority of offices were located within 5km from private clinics and hospitals (72.7% and 45.2%). Public health doctors on remote islands highly value the validity and deployment needs of public health doctors, while public health doctors in close proximity to private clinics or hospitals have a low score. This suggests that there is a need to more efficiently deploy the PHD depending on the local characteristics and the presence or absence of nearby private medical clinics and hospitals.