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Opposition pledges to cut waiting lists, set up independent health-care ministry

Opposition parties on Wednesday pledged to set up an independent health-care ministry, review the status of health-care employees and cut waiting lists should the opposition come to power after the general election this spring.

Zoltan Komaromi of the Democratic Coalition (DK) told an online press conference that the coronavirus pandemic had shown “what the government did to the health-care system in the past 11 years.” The number of fatalities is expected to reach 40,000 by the end of the year, he said. The number of tests carried out on Tuesday was 15,500, “outrageously low”,  and 20 percent was positive, “an extremely weak performance in an international comparison”, he said.

Jobbik lawmaker Laszlo Gyorgy Lukacs said that Hungary’s Covid-related mortality rate in the third wave of the pandemic had been among the highest. He said the government had failed to prepare for the third wave and changed the status of health-care workers mid-pandemic, so many were prompted to leave their jobs.

Lukacs said that if the united opposition wins next spring’s election, it will restore the public servant status of health-care employees. Wages will be further hiked, and they will set up an independent health-care ministry to organise the sector, he said.

Gabor Havasi of the Momentum Movement noted that Hungarians spent increasing amounts on private health care. Meanwhile, the country leads the EU mortality charts on cancer-related deaths, he said. If it comes to power, the opposition will reorganise the sector to increase effectiveness and cut waiting lists, and boost prevention and early detection methods to improve the chances of cancer patients, he said. Financing should be adjusted to the “real costs of examinations and interventions” and wages should provide incentives for performance, he said.

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