Photo: MTI

Almost all health workers have signed new contract, says national hospital chief

More than 95 percent of Hungary's health-care workers have signed their new contract establishing their new legal status, the national director-general of hospitals said on Tuesday.

Hungary’s health-care system employs more than 110,000 people, most of whom have accepted their new contracts, Zoltan Jenei told a press conference, adding that as many as 96 percent of them could end up signing the contract.

Jenei said the new legal status of health-care personnel would help maintain or even improve the quality of health care across the country.

Health workers had until Sunday to decide whether or not they wanted to work under the law governing their legal status, with the new contracts entering into force on Monday, he said.

During the talks, workers raised a number of questions and expressed several concerns, which the National Hospital Directorate-General is continually discussing with hospital directors, Jenei said. The directorate-general is open to discussing how to continue improving the quality of health care, he added.

Jenei expressed his respect for the health-care personnel who had decided to remain in the public health-care sector during the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, parties of the opposition have demanded that the government should postpone signing the employment contracts in the health sector.

Representatives of the Democratic Coalition, Jobbik, LMP, Momentum, the Socialist Party and Parbeszed said in a joint statement sent to MTI said that the government had “again opted for power rather than fairness”. They insisted that the new contracts had not been preceded by meaningful negotiations, and demanded that the government should restore the legal status of health employees and the deadline for signing the contracts should be postponed until after the coronavirus epidemic was over. They also demanded that the government should start substantive talks with employees and unions.

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