The Minister said the Government will be continuing the wage increases it began in 2016, and during the next four years will be further increasing the pay of trained healthcare workers, non-healthcare workers with college-level diplomas and health visitors employed within the basic healthcare system in four steps. “The wage increase would occur over the next four years based on the 2018 basic salary”, he added.
At the “Healing Healthcare System” conference organised by the Nézőpont (Viewpoint) Institute, the Minister said that the 8 percent wage increase for trained healthcare workers due on 1 November 2019 will be brought forward to July of next year, and health visitors will also be included in the salary table and will also be receiving the pay rise. In the next step, salaries will increase by 14 percent in January 2020, followed by further 20 percent in November, after which trained healthcare workers can expect the next, 30 percent pay increase in January 2022.
He highlighted the fact that this equates to an overall pay increase of 72 percent by 2022 compared to the 2018 level.
Mr. Kásler also spoke about the fact that in the interests of reinforcing basic services, a basic service methodology centre will be established, which will determine competencies and spheres of authority.
As he explained, the on-call system and the various service levels of basic services have been rethought. In future, they would like to depend heavily on doctors who provide basic services, and extend their competencies that are tied to various specialist exams. Assuring a suitable medical instrument pool is also a goal, including the establishment of an electronic link to the next level of services.
From among the various plans, be mentioned supporting the financial situation and reducing the burdens of family medical practices, in addition to which plans include the establishment of a basic service unit in every district with the involvement of other professional areas, such as school doctors, occupational health doctors, heath visitors, diabetologists or speech therapists. The district would be supervised by a medical collegial director who would control each professional field at County level, the Minister explained.
Mr. Kásler also spoke about resolving hospital debts, confirming that a budget of 55 billion forints (EUR 170 million) is available for this purpose for this year.
With relation to this he mentioned that a joint study has been launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance to map the reasons for hospital debt, but also explained: “It is not acceptable for the deficit to be caused by the financial mismanagement or financial circumstances of hospitals”.
“Accordingly, we will be moving away from the practice according to which the Government continuously settles hospital debts, andnobody is ever responsible for the accumulation of institutional debts”, he said.
In his lecture, Minister of State for Budget Péter Benő Banai from the Ministry of Finance spoke about the fact that there has been significant growth within the sector both nominally, in real terms and with relation to per capita funding, but that in his opinion the healthcare financing system must be reviewed, and during the course of this review performance and results must be taken into account.
As he explained, in the interests of assuring that the economic growth of recent years is sustainable, a healthy population is required, because an economy cannot be competitive in the long-term if the population is in a poor state of health.
In her lecture, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) European regional director Zsuzsanna Jakab highlighted the fact that progress must be achieved within three areas: increasing people’s state of health, assuring a suitable level of public financing, and reducing patient burdens and developing the healthcare system.
She noted however that good initiatives have been launched in Hungary recently in the interests of protecting health, but that in her opinion a coherent sectoral government program is required with the involvement of the whole of society.
As she explained, she agrees with the Government’s intent to reinforce basic services, but believes that the reduction of healthcare disparities cannot be expected or achieved without the reduction of social imbalances and without a public health strategy. She added that the burdens on patients must be decreased, which requires an increase in healthcare-related public spending, highlighting that “a new approach must be found for pharmaceutical subsidy policy”.