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25th March, 2021

Family doctors may be assigned to hospitals

Hospitals may be excused from providing mandatory minimal healthcare service conditions, and may order family doctors and the staff of district outpatient clinics to hospitals from today, under a government decree issued on Tuesday evening.

In addition, the state will take control of local council outpatients consulting rooms and transfer management of them to the heads of designated hospitals.

Zoltan Jenei, head of the new national hospital directorate OKFO, is in charge of local council outpatient consulting institutes, extending his purview to family doctors.

The cabinet did not divulge beforehand why it is preparing to take such significant steps, Szabad Europa observes.

A considerable number of family doctors can from now on be transferred to any hospital within their county.

In addition, the staff of specialist clinics can be reassigned to hospitals. From now on, the heads of all health care institutions must keep records of how many people can be taken away from them, i.e. redeployed elsewhere. If there is any change in this, the head of the institution must notify the head of the hospital under whose authority the institution lies (or the head of OKFO) within two hours.

In stating that certain institutions may be exempted from having to meet the minimum conditions, the decree does not specify what the minimum standards are. This may be decided by the directors of county hospitals or OKFO director Jenei at their own discretion. At times like these, however, they can set new minimum expected conditions to the given institutions.

The domestic regulation setting the current minimal standard is a huge decree, regulating basic mandatory conditions from the washing of hands to the refrigeration of the dead to the most basic mandatory conditions for each medical area and type of institution.

For example, one of the minimum conditions for an inpatient intensive care unit is that the physician-patient ratio in the ward should not be worse than 1:4. (szabadeuropa.hu; 444.hu)
25th March, 2021

Infrastructure staff to be vaccinated

The new government decree on the further centralisation of health care was necessary to make healthcare services even more organised, national chief medical officer Cecilia Muller told the emergency task force press conference on Wednesday.

She said that she considers centralisation a very effective thing.

The task force has decided to start inoculating the workers of companies that are part of the critical infrastructure, she announced, listing employees of the Budapest public transport company, state energy company MVM, the Paks nuclear power plant, state railway company MAV and Gysev Railways.

The inoculation programme was again not extended to teachers, kindergarten and nursery staff, HVG observes.

Muller stressed that vaccines are not enough as she asked everybody to do all they can to avoid getting infected, as the system is struggling under an extraordinary burden.

In answer to a question, she said the first shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines could arrive in Hungary in the second half of April. She could not say, however, how many vaccines will be in the shipment. (hvg.hu; infostart.hu; 444.hu; origo.hu)
25th March, 2021

60 teachers have died of coronavirus

Some 60 teachers have died of the coronavirus infection, although no official data are available, Teachers’ Union president Zsuzsa Szabo told ATV on Wednesday.

The union interviewed hundreds of teachers in a district of Budapest in a rapid questionnaire. Some 60% of the respondents said children should not return to classrooms until teachers are inoculated, full immunity develops and children are protected.

More than 70% of the teachers consider inoculation important.

Szabo said inoculation is important not only because of teachers but because of children and their family members.

The respondents asked that only those teachers show up for on-call work who have received a vaccination or have recovered from the infection. (atv.hu; infostart.hu; blikk.hu; nlc.hu)
25th March, 2021

Fidesz MPs silent on inoculation

Fidesz has refused to disclose how many of its MPs have received an inoculation against the coronavirus, in a survey by website 24.

All other parliamentary caucuses provided information.

One-third of the 15-member Socialist caucus has been inoculated.

Dialogue complained that 67-year-old Tamas Mellar has still not been inoculated. Nobody has received the jab yet among Dialogue MPs.

Jobbik MP Zoltan Balczo, 73, is in a similar position, as he is still waiting his turn.

Among Jobbik MPs, only Lajos Rig has been inoculated as a volunteer of the National Ambulance Service and a professional ambulance staff member.

Two of the nine Democratic Coalition MPs have been inoculated.

Only Erzsebet Schmuck of the six LMP MPs has been vaccinated. She was inoculated with a Sinopharm vaccine.

Fidesz and the Christian Democrats did not provide any answer, despite several attempts by the website. (24.hu; nepszava.hu)
25th March, 2021

Mostly caterers receive wage subsidy

Some 19,000 businesses have filed claims for crisis wage subsidies for 125,000 workers in the sectors hardest hit by the crisis, Innovation and Technology Ministry state secretary Sandor Bodo said on Wednesday.

The subsidies cover 50% of the gross wages to a monthly gross Ft 251,000 in the selected sectors.

Among the subsidised workers, 60% work in catering and 14% in accommodation services.

Since the scope of eligible sectors was expanded on March 8, approximately 6,000 claims have been filed in these additional industries.

The ministry has already paid out Ft 51 million in crisis wage subsidies, amounting to 99% of the claims, according to Bodo. (magyarhirlap.hu; origo.hu)
25th March, 2021

Rich Fidesz-run towns receive EU funds meant for poor regions

Not only does the state tourism office allocate public funds disproportionately between Fidesz- and opposition-run towns, but the Szechenyi 2020 programme which allocates EU money also shows a lopsided picture, website G7 reports.

The purpose of EU regional funds is to help advance poorer regions. After the 2019 municipal elections, Fidesz-led towns received conspicuously more money, although they are richer. The seven county seats run by the opposition in 2019 received Ft 20,000 per capita on average, while Fidesz-run towns obtained Ft 45,000.

The six local councils that received the highest support are all run by Fidesz. They were allocated Ft 36.3 billion in total, while the seven opposition-run towns received Ft 13.6 billion.

It is conspicuous that the richer a town is, the more EU money it receives, G7 adds. The two richest towns, Fidesz-run Szekesfehervar and Veszprem, received the most funds in proportion, while the two poorest, opposition-run Salgotarjan and Pecs, got the least. (g7.hu; telex.hu; 24.hu; hvg.hu; 444.hu)

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