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2023-2027 Plan for Development of Military Health and Medical Se...

2023-2027 Plan for Development of Military Health and Medical Services established

-To cope with changes in military medical service environment such as a recruiting crunch and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the plan aims to implement sectoral initiative in the military medical services system, military health services personnel, and military medical services

The Defense Ministry established the ‘2023-2027 Plan for Development of Military Health and Medical Services,’ which contains policies and initiatives in military health and medical services for the next five years.

The plan, which is based on the Military Health and Medical Services Act enacted in 2012, is a basic document on military health and medical services policy, which is established every three years. It is deliberated on and approved by the Military Health and Medical Services Improvement Promotion Committee* chaired by the vice defense minister.
* Chairman (vice defense minister), ex officio members (Director General for Health and Welfare Bureau of the Ministry of National Defense, Commander of the Armed Forces Medical Command), and commissioned non-ex officio members (four from the government, five from the private sector)

For the plan, the Defense Ministry sufficiently considered the opinions of military health and medical services personnel as well as factors of change in the military health and medical services environment.

As for factors of environmental changes, the Defense Ministry noted difficulty in securing military medical services personnel due to slumping recruiting, and the growing possibility of Industry 4.0 technology such as AI and big data being applied to military health and medical services institutions. 

The plan also reflected the military health system development plan. This was based on needs identified in meetings with military medical services personnel and site visits to military hospitals, divisional healthcare units, and the Army Training Center, which were conducted from February to May.

The 2023-2027 Plan for Development of Military Health and Medical Services consists of three sectoral initiatives: i) improvement of the military medical services system, ii) development of military medical services personnel, iii) demand-centered service improvement.

First, for improvement of the military medical services system, the plan aims to improve medical services by strengthening the primary medical treatment function at divisional healthcare units.

Six to eight current medical service subjects, including surgery, orthopedics, internal medicine and dentistry, will be expanded to nine to 10 subjects, such as ophthalmology and dermatology. This will be achieved by reassigning military medical officers in brigade and battalion healthcare units, except for those in surveillance units on the front line.

With this, military medical officers can focus on medical treatment related to their specialization, which helps enhance clinical competence and address the situation where soldiers visit distant military hospitals for outpatient treatment.

Military hospitals will provide life-cycle treatment for trauma patients from emergency treatment to rehabilitation.

The plan will establish an advanced acute rehabilitation center in the Armed Forces Capital Hospital to care for patients who have undergone serious injury operations at the Armed Forces Trauma Center.  
* Armed Forces Trauma Center is the military’s first trauma treatment center, designed to provide 24-hour emergency surgery and optimal treatment to military patients severely injured in various accidents, such as gunshot wounds and blast injuries. The center, located in the Armed Forces Trauma Center, opened in April 2022.

In addition, the plan includes establishing a specialized rehabilitation hospital. The hospital will provide top-level rehabilitation programs to military patients who require long-term care and rehabilitation.

Telemedicine system will be expanded to places with inadequate access to medical services, such as remote areas and ships where military medical officers are not deployed.

A telemedicine system for remote areas, currently installed in frontline guard posts (GP) and general out posts (GOP), will be expanded to surveillance operation units near coasts and rivers, enabling 24-hour access to medical care.
* (Telemedicine system for remote area) 89 locations in 2023 ⇒ 105 locations in 2027

In addition, the maritime telemedicine system, currently installed in three class-II ships, will be expanded to 87 ships with class II and III. This will enable soldiers on board to access medical treatment.
* (Maritime telemedicine system) three ships (class II) in 2023 ⇒ 87 ships (class II, class III, submarines) in 2027

Regarding the main initiatives for development of military medical services personnel, measures will be devised and implemented to secure skilled medical personnel.

Discussions will be held with relevant government ministries about increasing compensation, including allowances, for military medical staff such as military medical officers and nursing officers.

In addition to the long-term military medical officers who have a mandatory service term of 10 years, a new system will be implemented that allows short-term military medical officers with a 3-year mandatory service term to extend their service in one-year increments after the service term ends.

Personnel management and education will be geared towards improving the clinical competency of military medical service personnel.

Through a reassessment of military medical service positions, military medical officers and nursing officers will be placed in roles where they can develop their clinical competencies. Positions that do not require the specialized skills of these officers will be filled by personnel with other military occupational specialties.

To give military medical service personnel clinical research and educational experience, activities related to medical societies and associations will be encouraged and education on medical services will be strengthened.

Regarding the initiatives for demand-centered service improvement, the best medical support will be provided to ensure healthy military service for junior officers.

For junior officers in their third, fifth and 10th years after being commissioned, comprehensive health checkup programs with more examination items than national health checkup plans will be offered at military hospitals. A mobile application* will be developed to provide tailored mental health services for them.  
* A mobile application enables users to diagnose their mental health status using AI technology, and receive tailored content based on diagnosis results.

By bolstering the function of the mental health centers in military hospitals, the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of junior officers will be actively prevented and managed.
* An on-site mental health support team will be sent to military trauma incidents, and high-risk groups will be guided to mental treatment at military hospitals.

Medical support for the families of soldiers and retirees will be expanded. Eligibility for the exemption of medical costs at military hospitals for the families of military personnel with at least three children will be broadened by revising the Defense Patient Care Directive.
* (Currently) exemption of medical costs from the second child ⇒ (After change) exemption of costs for spouse and all minor children

The treatment period for individuals who have completed their mandatory service but have unfinished treatment will be extended from six months to one year. Moreover, measures will be implemented to allow discharged soldiers to obtain their medical records without the need to visit military hospitals.

Related systems will be improved for convenience in soldiers’ access to military medical services institutions.

A mobile booking system will be established for medical clinics to reduce waiting times.

The number and routes of shuttle buses for outpatient treatment will be increased and an integrated shuttle bus operation system will be developed to ensure an efficient bus schedule.

Rest spaces and welfare facilities will be added to military hospitals so that soldiers can wait comfortably before treatment.

The Defense Ministry will seamlessly implement the detailed initiatives outlined in the 2023-2027 Plan for Development of Military Health and Medical Services, with the ultimate goal of establishing a military medical service system that earns the trust of both the military and the public.


  • (Presentation and Follow-on discussion)