Mass resignation of anesthesiologists puts Szent Imre Hospital on life support

December 2, 2015

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Hungarian news sites Index.hu and hvg.hu report that six of the eight anesthesiologists working at Budapest’s Szent Imre Hospital have quit. Their departure will likely result in delayed surgeries and longer waiting lists. According to hvg.hu, the hospital will try to replace them with outside help.

Index.hu reports that the hospital’s chief anesthesiologist, Csaba Fejér, resigned a few weeks ago, and now six more anesthesiologists have left because they felt they were unable to safely perform their jobs any more.

Szent Imre Hospital is one of Budapest’s best-known hospitals, but the departure of all but two anesthesiologists will have a crippling effect on its ability to perform invasive medical procedures.

Citing a source at the hospital, hvg.hu reports that hospital management will try to deal with the problem by bringing anesthesiologists from other hospitals. Patients waiting for procedures are already being redirected to other hospitals. The source tells hvg.hu the situation is a “catastrophe”.

According to Index.hu, Csaba Fejér was forced out by hospital management. The six anesthesiologists that just quit cited a lack of proper funding and proper equipment as the main factors preventing them from safety performing their duties.

One source tells hvg.hu that the problem goes back a few months and likely played a role in the conflict between the former chief anesthesiologist and the hospital’s director.

An anesthesiologist at another hospital told hvg.hu that Szent Imre Hospital will do everything to fill its vacant anesthesiologist positions, but the fact that “three-quarters of the anesthesiologists suddely quit gives the impression that we shouldn’t go work there”.

There is a shortage of anesthesiologists all over Europe and that shortage – especially in Western Europe – is drawing anesthesiologists away from Hungary. The high-risk and low-paying anesthesiologist positions in Hungary offer far less attractive employment opportunities compared to what these doctors are making in other European countries.

A similar mass resignation took place in November 2014 when there was a mass resignation of emergency department staff at the hospital in Eger. The staff complained that the work environment was unsuitable and the personnel and equipment inadequate.

A hospital in Sopron recently announced numerous openings because employees were being lost to hospitals in neighboring Austria.

Four of the six anesthesiologists working at the hospital in Ózd also resigned at the same time two years ago.