If the opposition Socialist-Párbeszéd party alliance were to win power at the upcoming election, they would raise wages in Hungary’s health care by 50 percent, the two parties’ PM candidate told a press conference marking the Day of Hungarian Nurses on Monday.
Gergely Karácsony said that the government had “forgotten about nurses”. Referring to Viktor Orbán’s recent state-of-the-nation address, Karácsony said that the prime minister’s not even mentioning health care “shows how uncomfortable the subject is” for the government.
Karácsony also insisted that
while the government had raised wages in the sector it also scrapped benefits and the raises “in fact came to nothing”.
Párbeszéd co-leader Tímea Szabó said it was “unacceptable and inhumane” that nurses working night shifts are forced to take up a second job to make ends meet.
On another subject, Karácsony said the government’s recent “Stop Soros” draft law package was a “stupid legislation aimed at harassing civil groups”.
“It is not [US financier] George Soros that needs to be stopped but Viktor Orbán,” he insisted.
In reaction to Karácsony’s remarks, ruling Fidesz said that he was now “the face” of the Socialist Party “which had not respected nurses and paid shockingly meagre wages”. They insisted that while in 2010 the average nurse made 159,000 forints (EUR 511) a month before taxes, they now earn 309,000 forints, to be raised to 334,000 forints next year.
Zoltán Ónodi-Szűcs, state secretary at the human resources ministry, said earlier in the day that it was a government priority to improve work conditions for nurses. He said that 10 billion forints (EUR 32m) had been earmarked in the central budget for upgrading medical equipment in hospitals and facilities providing accommodation for nurses across the country by 2020.
The government dedicated February 19 as the Day of Hungarian Nurses in 2014.