Hospitals in terrible condition, long waiting lists, and doctors understaffed. These are the most important problem groups of the devastating Hungarian health care system. The French Le Monde magazine did a local report in the issue writing that the health care system got worse in every post-Communist country in Eastern Europe in the last three decades.
According to Portfolio, Jean-Baptiste Chastand, a reporter of the French magazine, writes that the Kútvölgyi Clinics, one of the flagships of the globally renowned Hungarian health care system, is merely a shadow of its former self. In the 1980s, it was an elite institution treating the officers of the Communist Party. However, today, its
condition is getting worse and worse.
Le Monde says that the Hungarian health care system, like the health care systems in all other post-Communist states, has been on a downward trajectory since the fall of the Communist regime. Living standards in Eastern Europe are much higher than 30 years ago, and, of course, people can live free in these countries. However, the health care system could not follow that improvement. 30 pc of Hungarians and only 17 pc of Bulgarians think that changes in 1989 had a positive effect on the health care system. This opinion
creates a lot of frustration in society.
The French newspaper mentions an initiative during which beds were donated to those hospitals where mothers could not sleep with their children during the night. Of course, this should be the task of the Hungarian state, said Zsolt Oroszvári, who started the initiative.
They write that the Hungarian government is widely criticised because it spends a lot of money on erecting new stadiums but gives insufficient financial support to the hospitals and the health care system. While Hungary spends only 4.6 pc of its GDP on health care, this rate is 9 pc in France or Germany. Even though they asked both the Hungarian minister and his secretary for health, neither of them reacted.
Zsombor Kovácsy, a health care manager, said that the development of health care technology results in deepening inequalities. He added that the general condition of the Hungarian system is not hopeless, but the private sector siphons away the necessary and skilled workforce in the country. Moreover, in most of the state-supported facilities,
expensive equipment like MRIs are run by private companies,
and for each examination, the state has to pay hundreds of EUR.
Gifting and gratuity are present in every sector of the Hungarian health care system, which is a huge problem. Meanwhile, the salary of a beginner doctor is just a bit more than the wage of a bus driver, says Gyula Kincses, the newly-elected president of the Hungarian Medical Chamber. This money/gift was the sign during the Communist era that the patient was satisfied with the treatment they received.
Today, patients do it because they hope that this way, they will get forward on the long waiting lists. István Éger, the former president of the Hungarian Medical Chamber, said that in the Communist era, there were no waiting lists. He says that since 2004, the Hungarian EU-accession,
10 thousand doctors have left Hungary.
Wealthier countries “stole” the doctors of the poorer ones, and even though the Hungarian government raised wages in the last few years, that was not enough to keep Hungarian doctors in the country.