According to zoom.hu, only in Romania and Bulgaria is the mortality rate higher than in Hungary in the EU. Furthermore, the lack of doctors is getting worse; the salary of the healthcare employees did not reach the national average even in 2017. Moreover, fewer graduate at the Hungarian medical universities than the number of those who prepare to leave the country.
As we already reported, the Hungarian healthcare system struggles with many problems. Thus, it is not surprising that, for example, the mortality rate of both men and women increased between 2016 and 2017. According to the zoom.hu, this shows that the rate of elder people is increasing in the Hungarian society. However, it also marks that the Hungarian healthcare system is extremely underfunded. Thus, healthcare employees receive salaries that are not competitive even in Hungary. Consequently, there are not enough doctors and nurses.
In fact, 4,755 family doctors and 1,444 paediatricians worked in Hungary in 2016. Their number has been decreasing since 2000, altogether by 7.8 and 8.0 pc. To make matters worse,
small places suffered the biggest losses in this regard.
For example, in small settlements, the number of family doctors decreased by 27 pc, while the number of podiatrists by 45 pc – reported the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO). According to the office, the number of practices with only substitute doctors has increased 2.6 times since 2008. Moreover, there are strong regional differences in this regard. For example, the number of such practices increased in Budapest and Western-Transdanubia 4 and 3.4 times. The
most unfilled practices were in Northern-Hungary (83),
and in the North- (60) and South Great Hungarian Plain (58).
In fact, there are more graduates at the Hungarian medical universities. However, this is only because the number of foreign students is growing. According to the HCSO, the number of international students grew by 85 pc while the number of Hungarian students rose only by 17 pc. Of course, most of the foreign students leave the country after they finish their studies.
Moreover, based on HCSO’s statistics, the number of Hungarian graduates was always below the number of those who requested permission to work abroad in the last few years. Thus, the Hungarian higher education system
cannot fill the places of those doctors who leave the country.
In fact, the most important cause of the exodus is that the salaries are astonishingly low in the sector. Despite the promises, the wages of healthcare employees did not reach the national average in 2017. Now it is 12 thousand forints below (285 thousand HUF, 885 EUR).
As we already reported, the Hungarian healthcare system is notoriously underfunded which affects not only the salaries but also the medical equipment and the condition of the hospitals. In fact, Hungary is not behind the V4 countries in this regard. However, if we take those countries that spend the most on their healthcare system
Hungary’s fallback is significant –
based on HCSO’s report.
According to experts talking to zoom.hu, 2019 budget allocations which contain a 7 pc rise for healthcare is only enough to grant the actual conditions. Thus, it does not allow a pay rise and it does not improve the morale of the employees.
It is not surprising that the Independent Trade Union of Healthcare Workers prepares for strike, if they cannot agree with the government about a wage increase until September.