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Survey: Vast Majority of Doctors Would Not Sign Gov’t’s Healthcare Contract

Fanni Kaszás 2020.10.28.

The Hungarian Medical Chamber recently published its latest study, entitled “The medical community sticks together and does not accept the circumvention of the profession” on the organization’s official website. According to the research, 77% of physicians would not sign the new healthcare contract in its current form.

In three days, 7,739 chamber members expressed their views on the new Health Service Act, the new healthcare contracts, its expected effects, and their personal plans.

According to the MOK survey, a total of 99% of the surveyed doctors insist that the government should involve the Hungarian Medical Chamber in the drafting of regulations implementing the law, and 99% insist on the possibility of transparent but free employment.

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The Hungarian Parliament passed the draft bill on a significant increase in doctors’ salaries and the abolishing of gratitude money earlier this month in a rapid manner. Since then, however, many doctors, the Hungarian Medical Chamber (MOK), and trade unions voiced their concerns in connection with other parts of the bill. According to a survey by […]Continue reading

When analyzing the answers, one of the most important results the survey showed is that 77% of Hungarian doctors would not sign the new healthcare contract in its current form, and 40% would even leave public care for this reason. The survey also revealed that more than half of Hungarian specialists work in two or more jobs at the same time, and almost two-thirds do not accept gratuity money at all.

Nearly half of the doctors (43%), also work as entrepreneurs to provide care for Hungarian patients. One-seventh of the respondents, 1,143 doctors, work only as entrepreneurs in Hungarian public health, and this work is not allowed by law from January 1st. It also turned out that 58% of Hungarian doctors work more than the 48 hours EU directive, and even 20% provide care for patients above the maximum 60 hours allowed by law.

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A total of 37% of specialists who responded have a private practice as well, the median of which work is six hours a week, “so this is not primarily affected by the second job restriction imposed by law, but patients treated in public health may be left without a doctor,” the chamber concludes.

The average monthly income of doctors, including all overtime, was HUF 581,327, of which the average income from self-employment was HUF 270,000. The chamber’s salary scale was found to be adequate by 80% of physicians, with doctors who accept gratuity money less satisfied with the salary scale.

According to the questionnaire, 64% of physicians do not accept gratuity money, while 10% of those who accept gratuity money received an income supplement over HUF 200,000 per month, and 63% of this form of income means an income of less than HUF 50,000 per month. Male doctors and older colleagues accept twice as much gratuity money as women and younger doctors. (However, the MOK states that the response rate to this question of the questionnaire was relatively low, so the conclusions are for information only, the magnitude of the problem remain hidden).

One of the pivotal points is the restriction of second jobs, where a slight majority of doctors (54%) consider it more strict to regulate job accumulation than at present, while almost the entire medical community (98.9%) wants to leave a space guaranteed by law (or in the case of full-time employment, only a notification obligation, possibly automatic authorization according to certain criteria).According to the chamber, it is clear from the above results that the healthcare system needs to be reformed by “regulating the salaries of doctors, making the operation of healthcare transparent, and eliminating gratuity money.” The chamber welcomes the fact that the government has embarked on this process, but as the following results indicate, “…unconfigured transformation could fail and clearly jeopardize patient safety,” they write, adding: “…the rejection of the law is significant, however, with significant changes a discreet majority of the medical community (57%) could accept the new legal status.”

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Respondents were very clear about the case in which the amendments represented by the chamber were not forthcoming. A total of 77% of respondents, 5,970 doctors, stated that they would not sign the new legal regulation. 37% of doctors would rather go to private healthcare, but 35% said they would even leave the country or industry instead of signing a contract. Younger, middle-aged colleagues plan to go abroad for private healthcare.

At the end of the survey, MOK states that although 99% of respondents insist that the government substantially involves the medical chamber in drafting regulations implementing the law, “…the chamber has not been invited to negotiate a single regulation to date, so the government’s intentions are unknown.”

featured photo: Zoltán Balogh/MTI