Poll: Seven out of ten Hungarians unsatisfied with the condition of public healthcare system

March 20, 2017

A recent poll shows that an increasing proportion of Hungarians believe that the quality of public healthcare is deteriorating. In a survey conducted in March by the Publicus Institute, two-thirds of Hungarians who have used public healthcare said they believe its quality has worsened in recent years, up from 64 percent in a November 2015 survey, and seven out of ten Hungarians are generally unsatisfied with the conditions of the public healthcare system, up from 66 percent.

Undecided voters are the most likely to be unsatisfied with healthcare, about 78 percent, compared to only 49 percent of Fidesz supporters that say they aren’t happy with the system.

Supporters of governing party Fidesz have the most optimistic view of public healthcare, with 46 percent responding that the system has improved in recent years, compared to 40 percent who think it has worsened. 85 percent of Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) supporters, on the other hand, believe the situation has worsened, along with 74 percent of Jobbik supporters.

56 percent of respondents believe the government and Prime Minister Orbán are primarily responsible for the present condition of healthcare, a four percent increase from November 2015, while 11 percent believe that a lack of money is at fault. Seven percent think the political opposition or previous governments should take the blame, followed by five percent of respondents who think the poor condition of healthcare is an old problem about which nothing can be done.

Answers for who is responsible also differed along party lines. 35 percent of Fidesz supporters acknowledged they thought the government was primarily responsible, followed by 10 percent who believe the political opposition and previous governments are to blame. 28 percent of Fidesz supporters couldn’t come up with a reason for the poor condition of Hungary’s healthcare system.

In order to enjoy better quality or more timely care, many Hungarians feel inclined to pay doctors and nurses so-called “gratuity money” (hálapénz): nearly half of those surveyed admit that they or members of their immediate families have paid such gratuities in the past several years. Those who’ve completed higher education and residents of Budapest pay gratuities in higher proportions, 58 percent and 56 percent respectively. The proportion of those opting to pay gratuities has not changed substantially since the 2015 survey.