As the deadline has expired for healthcare workers to receive the obligatory coronavirus vaccination, some 2-3,000 of them will face an immediate lay-off in October, according to estimations. While the government insists that people will not experience problems in the public healthcare service, professionals say this could lead to disruptions.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced in July that vaccinating against the coronavirus wouldn’t be optional, but mandatory for those working in healthcare. Therefore, as of October, those who refuse to be vaccinated will be laid off.
FactAccording to the government decree, those who are unvaccinated have to leave healthcare immediately without notice or severance payment (except for those who have a medical certificate proving that they cannot receive the vaccine). The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ), however, says that the government is violating fundamental rights with this last condition.
The president of the Independent Union of Healthcare Workers (FESZ) estimated the number of those affected to 2-3,000. According to calculations, the number of employees facing termination can be between 15 and 80 in the 200 larger institutions, while 5 to 10 people could be shown the door in each of the smaller hospitals.
Earlier, family minister Katalin Novák claimed that the vaccination rate is very high in healthcare, nearing 100%. The president of the Chamber of Hungarian Health Care Professionals (MESZK) said that even a few percent can lead to disruptions as the overwhelming majority of them are vital workers: nurses, assistant, or surgical staff. And healthcare workers are already overloaded in performing their duties, Zoltán Balogh added.
This is going to be the second time in 2021 that public healthcare undergoes a major employee exit. According to a reform that involved signing a new, stricter contract, thousands left the field in or before March (you can read more about this here and here).
featured image illustration via Péter Komka/MTI