Dentists in Hungary’s public health care have decided to restrict their services to emergency procedures on Monday to protest against insufficient government financing, daily Népszava reported.
According to the paper, some 700 dentists out of 2,800 practices across the country have joined the action. They said that their financing is “but a fragment” compared to the funds family practitioners receive from state coffers.
Dr Ákos Nagy, a dentist from Keszthely, in western Hungary, who organised the strike, told the paper that the government currently provides a mere 2,800 forints (EUR 9) for dental services per person a year. He said that while a filling costs 10,000-15,000 forints in private care, in the public sector dentists are paid 1,800-2,200 forints for the same procedure.
In reaction, the human resources ministry said in a statement that “the government stands by the dentists” and pledged extra funding and other forms of aid. They added that negotiations with the medical chamber were under way. “Reinforcing primary health care is a top priority for the government, since a well-functioning health system requires strong primary services,” they added.
As we wrote on July, over 5,000 people working in the public sector held a 2-hour strike demanding higher wages, Erzsébet Boros, head of trade union MKKSZ told a press conference. Boros noted that municipal employees have not had a pay rise for 9 years, and proposed the introduction of career models, under which the salary base in the sector would be raised from 38,650 forints a month to 60,000. As an alternative solution, she said that a 25 percent pay rise could be granted as a “first leg” in a three-year programme.