Celebrity life with monthly income of 4 million yen collapses! “Freelance doctors” face dire reality with the end of the Corona Bubble.
The “corona bubble,” with its “monthly income of 4 million yen” and “low-risk, high-return doctor lifestyle,” ended on May 8, when new coronavirus infections were moved to category 5 infectious diseases.
The lives of freelance physicians who do not receive specialized training in “internal medicine” or “orthopedics” after graduating from medical school, and who live by performing short-term projects such as physical examinations and vaccinations on Internet project recruitment sites, are changing drastically.
In 2008, when a new type of coronavirus infection broke out and a state of emergency was declared, most of the medical examinations that had been conducted during this period were postponed or cancelled. Even for the remaining projects, such as low-risk and easy medical checkups, the remuneration was drastically reduced. The freelance physicians were engaged in a bone-dry struggle for the few available cases in order to maintain their livelihood.
While the lives of these freelance doctors were in jeopardy, a ray of hope came in the form of part-time work for the new coronavirus vaccine, which was introduced around May 2009. A physician working at a hospital in Tokyo said, “Vaccination against the new coronavirus is a very important part of the medical care system.
The new coronavirus vaccination was a national policy, and all costs were publicly funded, so the remuneration was a ceiling. And even though it was a low-risk, easy job that only required a medical interview, the remuneration was several hundred thousand yen a day. For freelance doctors, it was probably the best kind of low-risk, high-return job. Many times, I saw the projects on the project application websites close down in an instant.”
Although there were some fluctuations, the part-time vaccination projects continued to be offered at several hundred thousand yen per day until the beginning of 2011.
On the other hand, as the virulence of the new coronavirus infection began to decrease and the Omicron Variant became the main type of infection, health examinations resumed to some extent in ’22, which drastically changed the position for freelance doctors, who were able to choose projects with higher salaries and better cost performance.
The hourly wage for new coronavirus infection vaccines often exceeds 15,000 yen, and a full day’s work can net you between 100,000 yen and 150,000 yen.” There were even emergency recruitment cases for maintaining the vaccination program, such as filling a vacancy the day before, where the pay was as high as 500,000 yen per day. To make matters worse, some of these freelance doctors used recruitment agencies to negotiate for higher hourly wages in City A and higher wages in City B,” said one of the aforementioned doctors.
For freelance doctors who were struggling to make a living, the past two years have been a “rice-cake from the shelf” situation, with some of them working 29 days out of 30 as part-time vaccine workers and earning a monthly salary of 4 million yen (equivalent to 48 million yen in annual income).
Unfortunately, this heavenly mode changed drastically on May 8 of this year, when the new coronavirus infection was transferred to category 5 infectious disease. The new coronavirus vaccine was resumed on May 8 for the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, but the number of people who wanted to be vaccinated did not increase, and the number of municipalities conducting mass vaccination drastically decreased.
In addition, the municipalities conducting mass vaccinations also realized the competence of freelance physicians who could not function at all in an unexpected emergency, so they decided to ask local medical associations and other organizations to provide the vaccinations.
In addition to this, price reorganization has also taken place in corporate on-site medical checkups, and the number of projects paying around 10,000 yen per hour, the level before the COVID-19 crisis, is also on the decline.
Remuneration for medical checkups tends to decrease to around 6,000 to 8,000 yen per hour, down from the 10,000 yen per hour level, although remuneration varies depending on the region, time restraints, access, and number of persons. In addition, medical checkups themselves are less frequently requested by recruitment agencies, and the number of medical checkup projects themselves is also on the decline, leaving freelance physicians in a difficult situation.
Until now, the medical world has been working as freelance doctors because of the introduction of the new clinical training system in 2004. A scalpel began to be thrown into the world of doctors, where the phenomenon that young people with no skills are treated better than young people who are learning skills the hard way, which is unthinkable in other industries, has been prevalent.
As a result, an increasing number of freelance doctors are now considering employment in the cosmetology field after seeing the glittering and glamorous lives of young cosmetology doctors posted on social networking sites.
The freelance physicians who can survive in the post-coronary world will be those who have a good sense of how to quickly catch a deal outside of the medical profession. Doctors who have lost their livelihood should think back to the “aspiration” they had when they set out to become a doctor and reflect on how they should be as a doctor.