Working within health and care in Hungary

Health and care services in Hungary are provided by the welfare-state, on the basis of compulsory social security and health insurance in accordance with the solidarity principle. Aside from the compulsory health insurance, there are several complementary insurance options, including services of private insurance companies, some of which are also compulsory for emerging generations to ease the financial pressure on the public budget in an aging society.

All medical service providers are covered by the same legislation, regardless of the type of ownership (public, private, charity/voluntary organization). All the service providers (hospitals, doctors, clinics, private clinics, etc.) have to meet the legislative requirements, including meeting the compulsory qualification requirements of staff. The necessary qualifications can be obtained through accredited training programs provided by accredited training institutions, including the whole scale and the complete hierachy, from assistant nurses to medical doctors and specialists. The same structure is applied to the social care services sector, and anyone providing social care services described in legislation has to have the prescribed accredited qualification.

Conditions for working within health and care in Hungary are determined by the state's financial difficulties in the sector (what has been termed recently the „premature welfare-state") and the lack of qualified staff willing to work in the sector due to its low-paid profile. Demographic factors have high significance as well, many of the medical staff emigrated to older member states of the EU for better pay, whereas most of the migrant workers (75-80% of the overall 2% migrant population in Hungary) are Hungarian-speaking ethnic Hungarians from neighbouring countries, where the training structure is similar to that in Hungary, therefore possible to have qualifications recognized by the Hungarian authorities. Therefore, it is often the case that Hungarian speaking (migrant) nurses and doctors are hired in various assistant positions for the time being until their qualifications receive full recognition by the authorities. Given the level of financial restrictions in public medical service providers (the main terrain for the sector) keeping the low-paid profile intact and the budgetary restrictions resulting in a decrease in human resources, it is unlikely that the remaining positions eventually would not be fulfilled by migrants from the neighbouring countries.