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“It took the coronavirus pandemic for everyone to understand that it is wrong to cut public spending on healthcare and education,” Bertalan Tóth, co-leader of the opposition Socialists (MSZP) told a press conference on Sunday.

Tóth said his party’s pre-election programme called for increasing public spending in these sectors.

“Now we can see the consequences of neglecting healthcare for years,” he said.

Even after the recent increase in doctors’ wages, Hungary still spends less than the EU average on healthcare, resulting in indebted hospitals, long waiting lists and a shortage of doctors and nurses, Tóth said.

Speaking of education, Tóth said the government’s reorganisation of the public education sector has resulted in a tragic decline in students’ academic performance, and it deepens social disparities rather than eliminating them.

Therefore, MSZP is proposing a radical transformation of healthcare and public and higher education, Tóth said, calling for a caring, opportunity-creating state and a well-developed municipal system.

In healthcare, the Socialists would improve services, drastically reduce waiting lists, employ more GPs and paediatricians and raise wages in the sector to the EU average by 2024, he said.

Hungary Has the Most Coronavirus Deaths Relative to Its Population
Hungary Has the Most Coronavirus Deaths Relative to Its Population

In terms of countries that have a population greater than 100 thousand people, Hungary has the most coronavirus related deaths relative to its population. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 26 thousand Hungarians have passed away, with around 1,700 people dying every week for the past four weeks. Only Gibraltar stands ahead of Hungary […]Continue reading

Tóth said they would provide opportunities for further education to all talented young people, raise the compulsory school age to 18 years, reduce the number of compulsory lessons per week for teachers, and “return privatised universities to public ownership and reinstate their freedom”.

featured image: Tóth in the Parliament; via Tamás Kovács/MTI