In recent years, health care in Hungary has been actively developing, but in general, there are still many problems in the medical care of citizens. But in some health care sectors, Hungarians have achieved significant success, which even led to the emergence of medical tourism: on dental services in Hungary, tourists from Western Europe can save up to 70% of the cost of treatment, and on cosmetic surgery services - up to 50%.
The basic principles of the Hungarian health care system were formed in the 1990s, when, with the collapse of the socialist camp in Hungary, fundamental changes in the social sphere took place. The previous healthcare system showed its inefficiency: the quality of medical services was low, due to scarce funding, advanced medical technologies were poorly introduced, and the level of professionalism of medical personnel raised many questions. The poor quality of medical care posed a serious threat to the health of the population, so reforms began in the country - pharmaceutical companies and some medical aid points were privatized, and in 2006 a number of reform laws in the field of health care were adopted. Many plans were not destined to come true, despite the stable economic growth that was observed in Hungary in the first half of the 2000s, the global economic crisis negatively affected the country's economy, and in 2009 the GDP fell by 6.7%.
Modern Hungarian legislation guarantees all citizens of the country health care within the framework of compulsory health insurance, which covers 99% of the population. The government of the country determines the general policy in the field of health care, it also controls the distribution of funds and financial flows in health care. Most of the hospitals, clinics and primary care facilities are owned by local governments. The Ministry of Health owns only a few specialized medical institutions: blood transfusion stations, ambulance services. University clinics are owned by the Ministry of Education, while the Ministry of Defense has its own clinics and hospitals.
The number of medical workers and hospital beds is regulated by the state, but the volume and quality of medical services provided are not regulated. The licensing of medical personnel, the certification of medicines and medical equipment, and the setting of prices for medical services provided within the framework of social insurance are strictly controlled by the state. There are also private medical institutions in the country, but there are not many of them.
Hungary spends 7.4% of GDP on healthcare annually (for comparison: Germany spends 10.2% on healthcare and Russia 5.2% of GDP). The health care budget is formed from several components: the Health Insurance Fund, state funding and local budgets, while 69.7% of this amount is made up of the state budget. Deductions for compulsory medical insurance are made from the income of citizens and amount to 11% for employers and 3% for employees. Health care also has private sources of funding, but their contribution is small: most often it is co-payments by the population for medical services that go beyond the scope of compulsory medical insurance policies.
Voluntary health insurance in Hungary is poorly developed - no more than 9% of citizens have VHI policies. Citizens of the country receive most of the medical services free of charge under the compulsory medical insurance policy, but some of the services are provided on a paid basis. These are the services of private doctors who do not have contracts with the CHI Fund, consultations of narrow specialists without a referral from therapists, some physiotherapy procedures, services of private clinics and some expensive surgical operations (for example, bone marrow transplantation).
Hungary has a system of family doctors. These professionals can work under different conditions: on a fixed monthly salary from the municipality, in a municipal health facility with payment for each patient admitted, or as a freelance physician in private practice. Specialized outpatient care in state polyclinics and dispensaries is provided by full-time doctors, but you can get to them for free only with a referral from a family doctor. Public health services provide maternal and child health, labor protection, public hygiene, health education and the fight against infectious diseases.
In May 2010, the Hungarian government published a health development plan, which provided for an increase in budgetary spending on health care and the launch of targeted programs for the development of individual health sectors: strengthening the role of outpatient services, reducing the list of patients by 50%, waiting in line for operations, and a number of others.
As part of this reform, the government decided to abandon free medicine for all, and at present the list of paid medical services is gradually expanding and will only increase in the future.
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