Budapest, February 10 (MTI) – The government is planning to introduce a new non-profit operational model for sewage, drinking water, gas, electricity supplies, district heating, waste management and meals for children, the government office chief said late on Tuesday.

János Lázár told a public forum in Hodmezovasarhely that the government wants service providers to be in state ownership or operate in a state-controlled market. Even if they are run as private businesses, these public services will be provided on a not-for-profit basis, he added. According to Lázár, this would protect households from excessive increases in public utility fees. If the services are well-organised, they could even become cheaper, he added.

In response to a question about waiting lists in health care, he said ruling Fidesz had opposed their introduction at the time they were made. The current government has already made changes to the system and if there is suspicion of a serious illness, examinations are carried out swiftly.

Thanks to some 600 billion forints worth of developments carried out in hospitals and equipment purchases in recent years, progress has already been made, Lázár said. Wages need to be increased and the infrastructure further developed, he added.

Lázár said prevention and heath maintenance are still in “infancy” in Hungary and there is more illness in society than the European average. A more health-conscious lifestyle and regular screenings for lung and intestinal cancer could reduce the country’s annual mortality of 120,000 by 5-10,000, he said.


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