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Official: Medical chamber will ‘not close down’

The Hungarian Doctors' Chamber (MOK) will "not wind down, it can carry out its activities under the new regulations," State Secretary Peter Takacs said on public television on Thursday.

Takacs said parliament “has only lifted mandatory chamber membership”, one of three criteria for doctors to practice medicine.

He said parliament’s move was justified because the chamber had “started acting as a political player rather than a public body”.

The chamber had put general practitioners “under pressure” and it could have “undermined the on-call system and thus directly jeopardise patient services”, he insisted. “The government did not think it was right and had to act,” he added.

Concerning the transfer of code of ethics procedures from the chamber to the Scientific Health Council, the official said such procedures were “more than a friendly reprimand”, which could lead to banning a doctor from practicing. He insisted that the council was “a body with long traditions”, which would now be tasked with setting up a medical ethics committee and create a new code of ethics.

Answering a question on public radio, concerning the chamber’s goals with its recent activities, the state secretary suggested that “they could be acting on political instructions from outside”.

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