Budapest, April 15 (MTI) – The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) and Dialogue for Hungary (PM) parties on Friday held separate protests against the state of Hungary’s health-care system to express their solidarity with the sector’s workers.
DK lawmaker Lajos Oláh told reporters after a protest by some two dozen activists outside a Budapest hospital that it was unacceptable that the number of deaths from hospital-acquired infections tripled over the past six years. He said that on average, three doctors and two nurses leave Hungary to go work abroad each day, while only the wealthy and those who have the right connections have access to proper medical care. Olah urged hospital workers to voice their concerns over the state of the health-care system as teachers had done for their sector.
Members and activists of the PM party laid a black flag on the steps of Parliament in support of an initiative by Mária Sandor, a civil activist nurse, who made a name for herself by wearing black attire at work. Sándor earlier called on health-care workers go to work on Friday wearing black to draw attention to the industry’s problems.
PM said state health care in Hungary was “on the brink of catastrophe”. Co-leader Tímea Szabó criticised the government’s “inhumane and heartless” health-care policies. She said one third of the country’s doctors and nurses had “fled” abroad and health institutions are poorly equipped, so patients now go to hospitals “only to die”. Szabó said her party would launch a petition to pressure the government to “give back to the sector the 400 billion forints” that had been cut from the health-care budget. She called on the government to pay fair wages to health workers, scrap waiting lists and do everything in its power to eliminate hospital-acquired infections.
Government wants health-care wages to reach 70 pc of EU average ‘in a few years’
The government aims to raise wages in Hungary’s health-care sector to 70 percent of the European Union’s average health-care wages “within a few years”, the state secretary for health care said on Friday.
Zoltán Ónodi-Szűcs told public news channel M1 that the wage hikes planned beyond 2017 will depend on the country’s economic growth.
The state secretary expressed hope that the government can reach an agreement with the health-care unions at next week’s wage talks.