Policy responses for Hungary - HSRM


Policy responses for Hungary

2.2 Workforce

Several measures have been introduced in order to protect the healthcare workers. Health workers over 65 years of age and with chronic diseases were withdrawn from direct contact with patients, non-emergency care was suspended and non-emergency procedures were postponed, while the use of already implemented eHealth technologies, such as the ePrescription system was encouraged.

During the State of Emergency, the operating licence of health workers is automatically prolonged and certain requirements can be done via distance learning.

The current resident and specialist training plan has changed. In order to eliminate unnecessary commuting, all residents and medical students should be recalled from their educational institution and recruited at their own institution.

The Ministry of Human Capacities started recruiting volunteer health workers between age 18-49 (e.g. students, health professionals from the private sector) as the health workers above 65 had to be relocated to positions where they could not meet a coronavirus patient [1]. According the Minister close to 900 volunteers have registered at the website of the National Healthcare Service Center [2].

Health care workers will be able to travel free on regional public transport, the Minister of State of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology said at the Operational Group’s online press conference on the 28th of March [3].

Several services have been launched at the Semmelweis University to provide psychological support to frontline health and social workers (Call for Help lines 0-24) [4].

The government announced on the 4th of April that health workers will receive a one-time bonus of HUF 500,000 gross, expected sometime in early Summer [5].

On the 24th of July, the Minister of Human Capacities withdrew the instructions to exempt health care workers over the age of 65 from direct health care positions [6].

From October, due to the rise in the number of patients requiring hospitalisation, health care workers were transferred to institutions where all the conditions for the treatment of COVID-19 patients are available [7].

On the 6th of October, the Parliament passed an act about the new legal status of health services employees. According to the act, which was passed with an accelerated procedure, the salaries of doctors working in state or municipal health care facilities will increase to a gross amount of between HUF 687 thousand and HUF 2.38 million by 2023, depending on the number of years spent in the profession.
However, along with the salary increase, the act also will change the legal status of doctors working in public health from a public service to health service relationship, which is estimated to affect thousands of doctors. Doctors working in health service will be entitled to the increased wages, although in return they will no longer be able to work elsewhere, so they cannot work in both the public and private sector at the same time. Exceptions to this rule may be given by a government body designated in a subsequent decree. Another provision of the act will be to criminalize every form of informal payment in the Criminal Code. 

Based on the decision of health care administrators, doctors working in a health service relationship may be assigned to another health care provider. The duration of the secondment may not exceed one year. Health professionals must be informed at least ten working days in advance about secondment and its expected duration [8].

From the 11th of November, health care workers and medical students who are involved in the pandemic response can use public transportation free of charge [9].

From the 15th of November, soldiers will help the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in 93 hospitals. Soldiers will not perform tasks that requires health professional training, and will primarily perform physical and logistical work and help with checking temperatures. Their main task is to reduce the workload of the healthcare workers [10].

On the 23rd of March, a new government decree was published declaring that GPs with qualifications in addition to general practice can now be seconded to hospital work in designated county hospitals.  Pursuant to the decree, municipally-owned outpatient health centres will come under the professional management of the designated county hospitals during the State of Emergency [11].

[1] https://index.hu/belfold/2020/03/16/megkezdtek_az_onkentes_eu-dolgozok_toborzasat/
[2] https://www.kormany.hu/hu/emberi-eroforrasok-miniszteriuma/hirek/ket-nap-alatt-rekordszamu-csaknem-900-egeszsegugyi-onkentes-jelentkezett-a-koronavirus-elleni-kuzdelemhez
[3] https://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-for-innovation-and-technology/news/health-care-workers-to-travel-free-on-regional-public-transport
[4] http://semmelweis.hu/hirek/2020/03/27/tobb-szolgaltatas-is-indult-az-egyetemen-az-egeszsegugyi-dolgozok-lelki-tamogatasara/
[5] https://www.portfolio.hu/gazdasag/20200404/itt-a-kormany-bejelentese-kulonadokat-vezetnek-be-gigantikus-csomag-keszul-424146
[6] https://koronavirus.gov.hu/cikkek/az-egeszsegugy-tovabbra-szamit-65-ev-feletti-orvosokra-es-szakdolgozokra
[7] https://www.kormany.hu/en/news/deployment-of-health-care-workers-is-going-to-plan 
[8] T/13174. számú törvényjavaslat az egészségügyi szolgálati jogviszonyról
[9] https://index.hu/belfold/2020/11/11/eu_dolgozok_utazas_ingyenes/
[10] https://koronavirus.gov.hu/cikkek/benko-hetfotol-93-korhazban-lesznek-ott-katonak