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Citing bad work environment, 6 doctors quit Eger hospital

Six medical doctors working in the emergency ward of Eger’s Ferenc Markhot Hospital, including the department head, handed in their resignations on Saturday, citing bad working conditions, inadequate equipment and insufficient staffing.

Hospital director László Fűtő said the resignations do not endanger the hospital’s or the department’s everyday operations, adding that the reasons the six have given are “over-exaggerated and conceptious.” Fűtő added that the departing physicians were not directly payrolled by the hospital but were outsourced contractors, working with entrepreneur contracts. Both hospital management and the county Chief Medical Officer rejected claims of impossible working environment after an official meeting held on 25 November.

Fűtő said the “real reason” for the doctors’ action was that “they have found employment somewhere else for more money”, and alleged bad conditions were merely an excuse for such a move.

Former hospital director Mihály Valent disagrees.  He told Index.hu that resignations at the emergency department “are the direct result of the constant decreases in hospital staff since 2010. Unlike in other departments, nobody was hired to replace those leaving. The real question now is whether enough experts remain in the ER who can do their job professionally, let alone make responsible decisions.”

Defunding of public healthcare under the current and previous Fidesz-KDNP administration has caused a general decline in the quality in Hungary’s public health care system.  An estimated 10,000 health care professionals have left Hungary since 2008.  Annual public expenditure on the sector in 2014 was a mere USD 9.8 billion.

Lack of funds and mounting arrears to suppliers and contractors are the primary reason behind problems in state hospitals.  As of August 2014 total arrears reached HUF 54 billion (around USD 219 million).

Experts say an estimated HUF 500 billion (USD 2 billion) is required to clear up arrears and restructure health care.

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Csaba Tóth :