Klára Dobrev, an MEP of the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) party, pledged wage and staff increases in health care and a stand-alone ministry to oversee the sector, if DK gets elected into power next spring.
Dobrev, who is running in the pre-election to become the opposition alliance’s prime ministerial candidate, and two health experts of the party held an online press conference after meeting representatives of five health-care organisations in Budapest on Friday.
“The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the collapse of Hungarian healthcare,” Dobrev said.
The strategically important health-care sector needs a specialised ministry, she added.
The opposition parties have pledged to raise health-care spending to the EU average ratio of GDP, she said.
She said a large-scale staff increase the first and most important task, pledging to employ an additional 3,000 new doctors, 500 GPs, and 9,000 new health professionals in the coming years.
Ruling Fidesz responded by saying that it would not allow a return of the previous era of Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány’s government in Hungarian healthcare.
“That government repeatedly cut healthcare funding, closed several hospitals, introduced a fee for a doctor’s visits and stripped the sector’s workers one month’s salary,” Fidesz said in a statement.
Since taking power in 2010, Fidesz has increased health-care spending and the wages of doctors and nurses, and has revamped a great number of hospitals across the country, it said, adding that Hungary’s health-care system had been up to its job in tackling the pandemic so far, unlike several other European countries.