The Budapest Hospice House – the only institution in Hungary where adults with incurable diseases are treated – might face closure at the end of the year for lack of state funding.
The problems are rooted in a wage increase affecting public health-care workers. Due to the competition the Hospice House is forced to increase wages as well – but they cannot afford it. Of their roughly HUF 165-170 million (USD 630,000) annual costs of operation, social insurance only covers 40%, and remaining expenses are too high for their current sources of funding. HUF 120 million (USD 446,000) can be provided by the Hungarian Hospice Foundation, taken from donations by civil organizations, companies and other sources, but they hope the difference, some HUF 50 million (USD 186,000), will be provided by the state.
The Ministry of Human Resources has announced that Minister Zoltán Balog has instructed health-care secretary Zoltán Ónodi-Szűcs to guarantee the resources necessary for the Hospice House’s work, but also urged the Hospice Foundation to ensure “responsible operation”.
The foundation requested assistance in February but has thus far received no clear response. The health-care secretariat said it recognizes the foundation’s social significance and the importance of its work, which is why it had supported them with HUF 25 million (USD 93,000) in the past three years.
Still, HUF 5 million or 10 million in ministerial support will not be enough to avoid closing the facility, in Óbuda, nor will the HUF 3 million (USD 11,000) that has been offered by individual supporters since the news of the House’s financial troubles broke. Budapest Hospice House welcomes the social support and is surprised by the high amount of donations in such a short time. However, program director Anita Kovács highlighted that what is really missing is state funding.
Patients bear no cost of the hospice care. Ten terminal patients can be cared for at any given time. The specially trained personnel also help a further 80-100 patients in the patients’ own homes, as well as child hospice. Additionally, five public hospitals have hospice departments and other NGOs provide hospice treatment in patients’ homes.
Kovács expressed her hopes to abcug.hu that a solution can be reached in the coming weeks, otherwise the Hospice House will have to close in January.