Police ordered to deliver technical equipment to general practices 2 days before launch of new medical network

October 31, 2017

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Photo: World Bank/Olja Latinovic

The state is using police personnel to deliver technical equipment to general practitioners two days before the launching of a new electronic healthcare service interface, reports Magyar Nemzet.

Although there were months to prepare for the launch of the interface, which aims to integrate general practices, clinics, hospitals and pharmacies into a single informational network, two days before the planned launch there is complete chaos according to Magyar Nemzet sources.

A GP who wanted to remain anonymous told the newspaper that despite having already received a card reader that is compatible with the new electronic identification cards, police personnel delivered them an additional five units without any explanation. Based on the comments in a Facebook group that includes general practitioners, the same thing happened to a Püspökladány practice which received seven extra card reader units.

GPs who managed to contact the National Healthcare Services Center (ÁEEK) were informed that those physicians who do not take the card readers before November 1 will have to pay for the equipment, about HUF 32,000 (USD 120) per unit. According to members of the group, the ÁEEK is using the special police courier, the National Delivery Service, to deliver equipment needed for the launch.

Normally it is the National Delivery Service’s duty to deliver classified documents, with an armed escort, to authorities that are part of the Delivery Service’s network. Although Magyar Nemzet contacted the National Police Headquarters (ORFK) to find out why the police are now responsible for delivering equipment to physicians, exactly how many police personnel have been mobilized, and who made the decision to use the Delivery Service for this purpose, ORFK failed to provide an answer.

The fact that there was no official training on setting up the network further increases the chaotic feeling among GPs. Many physicians stated that although they had tried, they could not get in touch with the ÁEEK call center.

Opposition party Együtt’s healthcare policy expert Zoltán Komáromi, who works as a general practitioner, told Magyar Nemzet that it is still unclear how thousands of GPs and dentists would be able to receive help if something does not work with the system. Komáromi noted that many GPs work with rather obsolete computers that might not be able to handle the new system.

Once it is launched, the electronic healthcare service interface will allow authorized physicians, general practitioners and nurses to acquire patients’ entire medical history, including their records and prescriptions.