Balog warns against “fake news” about healthcare system

July 4, 2017

Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog warned against believing “fake news” about the state of the Hungarian public healthcare system in his Semmelweis Day speech on Monday, reports Hungarian news channel HírTV.

“We would like to celebrate among the noise of battle,” Balog said. “We expect a tough fight on the fields of healthcare and politics as well, since unfortunately manufacturing fake news is a tool of politics and the media today. Show me a healthcare system anywhere around the world where one could not a find a case or a story with which to manipulate public opinion, to show that the best performing healthcare workers or even systems – because we can be very proud of many things about the [Hungarian] healthcare system – are unfit,” he said in his speech on Healthcare Workers’ Day .

The minister concluded that critics of the dire state of the public healthcare system – caused largely by a lack of coherent government policy – in fact hurt healthcare workers, and he seized the opportunity to praise the government’s tremendous efforts to reveal the system’s “real face.”

“Those who are commissioned to [create fake news] do not just paralyze the government but the healthcare workers. We must be brave in showing the truth. I think that the Hungarian government, our government, is leading the way [in showing the truth], since we revealed bluntly, frankly, strictly, radically, realistically in a several thousand page-long report how the Hungarian healthcare system really looks today. We would like the truth to reach people.”

Balog concluded that the biggest problem with the so-called fake news about the healthcare system is that “they destroy what is most important than healing, more important than medicine, than cure, than financing – trust. Trust not just between doctor and patient, but in the Hungarian healthcare system. […] and not least, trust in the government, trust in [the belief] that the ministry’s intention is not to make the healthcare system worse, but to improve it.”

Despite the government’s blunt, frank, strict, radical, and realistic revelations, conditions in the public healthcare system are still dire. The system is deeply underfinanced, contributing to a critical number of healthcare professionals leaving and increased workload and stress on remaining workers.