László L. Simon, the Director-General of the Hungarian National Museum and former State Secretary for Culture, has expressed outrage on his Facebook page that his elderly mother is not receiving proper medical care. The district doctor did not even visit her even when they suspected she had pneumonia. Thousands of people responded to the post criticizing the former politician, with many saying that the director had just learned the reality of the Hungarian healthcare system.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
“Is it really conceivable that the only way to make an appointment with a family doctor these days is by phone? And if a 72-year-old woman with a heart condition calls her family doctor because she has blood pressure problems and has been lying alone in her apartment for days with a severe cold, probably pneumonia, how can her family doctor advise her not to go to the doctor’s office because she might infect someone?”, wrote former Fidesz government member László L. Simon, who is currently director-general of the Hungarian National Museum, on his Facebook page even naming the GP he felt reponsible for the current situation.
When I was a child, in such a case Doctor Bátai would have jumped into his Trabant in Gárdony and driven to his patient. I don’t understand how we got here. But please, don’t blame this on politics and the salaries of general practitioners,”
added the former Fidesz state secretary, who still has significant power in Fidesz circles.
In response, thousands of comments flooded his social media page.
“Good morning! Welcome to the rough Hungarian reality of the little people!” This is just one of the comments posted under the general manager’s Facebook post.
In addition to the recovery wishes for his mother, the cultural politician was welcomed by many people “to today’s Hungarian reality.”
What is the object of surprise? For almost two years, you don’t come to the doctor’s office, you find out what’s going on over the phone… If they answer at all.”
Others pointed out that the government should invest more in healthcare instead of many other investments, such as stadiums. More than a few cited the well-known problems of domestic healthcare, including staff shortages, low wages, and burnout among healthcare workers, and mass occupational migration as possible causes.
Some of them recalled that Fidesz, which has been in power for 12 years, bears a serious responsibility for the current state of the Hungarian healthcare system, including the system of primary care, which has become particularly critical in the last two years during the pandemic.
In the meantime, the politician deleted his post. Those who commented then moved on to other posts and continued their critical comments there. Simon then restricted who could comment on his posts.
Coincidentally, the Hungarian Medical Chamber wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister pointing out that despite the wage increases for doctors, the state of the healthcare system has not improved, but has even become worse since COVID. Proposals were made, including the creation of an independent ministry, but this has already been rejected by the Prime Minister’s chief of staff.
Featured image: László L. Simon, Director General of the Hungarian National Museum at a press conference on the renovation of the Báthori István Museum on April 1, 2022. Photo by Zoltán Balogh/MTI