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New Survey Shows Huge Difference in Healthcare Waiting Times in Hungary

Hungary Today 2022.05.17.

Getting to a specialist in healthcare takes almost one-third less time in the private sector than in public care. The average wait time for specialist and diagnostic exams is eight days, compared to about 20 days in the public sector. When it comes to examinations, patients have to wait the longest for gastroenterology and endocrinology, according to a survey among the company’s own members by Prémium Egészségpénztár.

This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute. Translated by Júlia Tar.

The private healthcare company’s survey of its members reveals other differences as well. For example, while patients in private healthcare have to wait for an average of 10 minutes before their actual appointment with a doctor, and are then treated for 21 minutes, this is a 25-minute wait in public healthcare, with a treatment time of only 13 minutes.

In private healthcare, patients felt that they could express their complaints without restrictions and that they were examined in a more thorough and informed manner. However, there is no significant difference in the physicians’ professional judgment.

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Longest wait time for endocrinology

The survey also captured the average waiting times for a doctor’s visit. They show that the average wait time for specialist examinations is 7.5 days in private care, 7.4 days for diagnostics, and 19 and 21 days in public care. In public care, the longest wait times are for endocrinology, gastroenterology, and neurology, while MR and ultrasound exams top the list of diagnoses.

So wait times are a factor to be considered in both the public and private systems, the only question is to what extent. In addition, many people turn to private providers for convenience and attention. Our findings confirm that this is not unfounded. In the private sector, they find the practice environment more pleasant, more modern, they have to wait less, they spend 50% more time with the doctor, they receive more detailed information, and they feel the doctor treats them more like a partner,”

said Péter Váradi, Senior Strategy Advisor at Prémium Egészségpénztár.

Young people are the main users of private healthcare, with 25 to 34-year-olds almost twice as likely to see a private doctor as 55 to 64-year-olds.

In the past year, 54% of 18 to 24-year-olds chose a private health plan, compared with 59% of 25 to 34-year-olds, and the lowest percentage of 55 to 64-year-olds (32%).

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As we reported earlier, recently the president of the Hungarian Medical Chamber (MOK) wrote an open letter to Viktor Orbán. As President of MOK Gyula Kincses put it, although the recently introduced increase in doctors’ salaries was of “historic significance,” the quality and accessibility of healthcare continue to decline. According to the president, the quality of care in the system has actually deteriorated under the COVID pandemic. The medical association also listed the system’s main problems.

Sources: Világgazdaság, Index

Featured image via Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI


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