Human Resources Minister Miklós Kásler has instructed hospitals to keep 20 percent of their beds empty for coronavirus patients, instead of the previous 10 percent. He also forbade hospitals from sending patients home.
In a letter, the Minister of Human Resources instructed hospitals to provide additional empty beds for patients infected with the coronavirus, leftist daily Népszava reports. An important point of the instruction is that now, unlike during the Spring wave, the implementation of the measures should not result in the release of patients from the institutions.
According to the paper, Kásler’s instruction will affect healthcare institutions differently: in many places, freeing up beds will not cause any problems, as only 60-65 percent of their space is occupied. However, there are places where most of the beds have been filled. Former chief medical officer, Ferenc Falus, told the paper that for these places, the minister’s letter was practically a closure of admission. Furthermore, the fact that they cannot send anyone home presents the heads of these institutions with an unsolvable challenge yet again.
As there are less than 200 coronavirus patients currently in hospital, Falus believes that even with the expected increase in the number of cases, the 13,800 free beds requested by Kásler seems extreme.
The decision will clearly increase the debt of healthcare institutions as well, Népszava writes. Since fewer patients can be treated, hospitals will receive less public funding, but their costs will increase.
During the first wave of the Covid-19 epidemic in spring, the ministry decided to free up 50 percent of the hospital beds (instead of the original target of 60 percent) later reducing that number as fewer people were being infected by the virus. Most recently, only 10% of the total number of beds was reserved for coronavirus patients. This made it possible to gradually restore hospital care.
In recent weeks, however, the number of coronavirus cases has dramatically increased in Hungary. Fortunately, since most new cases are found among younger people, there has been no significant increase in the number of deaths, or the number of hospitalizations.
Featured photo by Károly Árvai/kormany.hu/MTI