Govt to revisit hospital ownership system by Jan, says official – paper

Budapest, February 4 (MTI) – The government plans to carry out a major restructuring of the hospital ownership system by January next year, the state secretary in charge of health care told Friday’s business daily Vilaggazdasag.

Nationalisation will not be mandatory for hospitals, said Miklos Szocska, adding, however, that run-down hospital buildings should not expect to be refurbished from hundreds of millions of forints from the central budget, as this would not be cost-efficient.

    The planned transfer of hospitals’ ownership from Budapest to the state will not represent a loss because it will put an end to a confusing system of interests that existed over the past 20 years, he told the paper.

    On Wednesday, Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos said that all 12 hospitals in Budapest “must come under state management”.

    The regional integration of hospitals can potentially result in significant savings, Szocska told Vilaggazdasag. Hospitals can use these savings towards wage increases, considering that the current situation in human resources cannot be maintained even in the medium-term, he added.

    Tarlos has called a meeting for the directors of 12 Budapest hospitals next week, daily Nepszava said on Friday. The paper said the mayor’s office has confirmed the meeting, but declined to reveal further details.

    According to the paper’s unnamed sources, the meeting is likely to be followed by dismissals.

    Tarlos has repeatedly denied plans to fire hospital directors, but the sources told the paper that “they are not expected to stay in the long-term, perhaps only as retired advisors.”

    Szocska told a press conference earlier in the week that the capital’s 12 hospitals could be transferred to the state only after the Budapest General Assembly and the government give their approval, perhaps in June or December this year.

    In a move criticised by Tarlos himself as being an overreach, deputy mayor Tamas Szentes had wanted to fire the heads of all 12 Budapest hospitals early this week.