Prime Minister Viktor Orban in a regular Friday morning interview with Public Radio in early October announceThis is from the beginning of the year Comprehensive Payroll Program expected in the public sector. Among the government’s promises at the time was that health professionals, who make up more than 100,000 Hungarian camps, could expect a 21 percent pay rise from January 1.
Twenty-one percent raise in workers’ salaries here or there is a fundamental problem that we’re not going to go far until we finally catch up with health worker wages that are lagging terribly for years and decades. In turn, we always only take small steps and so on. This is less tolerated by our colleagues who have been working in the system that has plagued Covid for two years
said to the index Adriana Seuss, President of the Independent Health Federation (FESZ).
The guild leader added: While Basic salary for health professionals It has not even reached the guaranteed minimum wage for years and will continue with a few tens of thousands of forints with a live increase from January 1 this year The current total is 260 thousand The amount is above the starting salary. (For health workers, we are not talking about a minimum wage, but about a guaranteed minimum wage, since the majority of them – 75% – have a secondary education.)
But if someone had worked in publicly funded healthcare in Hungary for decades, his or her salary would not be much higher. At most, if you work overtime, you take extra shifts in the evenings, nights, and weekends after office hours. A concrete example is that after thirty years, a nurse with a secondary education earns only HUF 45,000 more than her male or female colleague with the same education.
In many respects, it is dangerous, given the current situation, for only health professionals’ salaries to be raised to a level that provides an acceptable standard of living at the expense of significant overtime. It is a good question what is the 24-hour ambulance or the nurse treating the patient on duty 24 hours a day, and what care the patient receives from such a specialist.
Adriana Suss expressed concern.
Let’s also look at how salaries for healthcare professionals have changed as of this year:
- If you have a high school diploma, your initial monthly basic salary will be around HUF 300,000;
- If you have also obtained higher vocational education included in the new type of National Vocational Training List in addition to your matriculation certificate, your total earnings will be around HUF 330,000;
- The majority of health professionals fall into these two pay categories;
- with a college or university degree, the starting salary of a skilled worker exceeds the total level of 400 thousand by a few thousand forints;
- Even if a healthcare professional reaches the level of a gross monthly income of half a million fortnite, it can only be achieved with a significant amount of extra work, for example by completing a lot of 220, 240 or even 280 working hours per month.
Physicians Vs. health professionals
In addition to already humiliatingly low wages, it raises this Physicians on demand fee So far, it has been relatively predictably settled by the healthcare administration, which can be said less well in the case of professionals,” said Adriana Suss. Thus, unlike fixed-fee services for physicians, the overtime salary for specialists is still calculated in proportion to the salary basic.
As of January 1 this year, basic on-call fees for doctors have risen to a total average of HUF 6,000 per hour, which can increase by 15, 30 or even 45 percent, depending on the number of patients in the doctor. Compared to the already not very high amounts owed to treating physicians, the fee for a specialist call-up is now only 2,000-2,500 HUF per hour.
What also creates a conflict situation is that, according to the head of the FESZ, the medical salary scale now reflects well – with a large amount of fees – the fact that the doctor has a high professional experience. By comparison, a healthcare professional’s salary increases by about six to ten thousand forints in three years, which is less incentive for them to stay on track in the long term.
I don’t understand why they don’t pay better, more in proportion to the workforce and offer them a more predictable and motivating career model. Especially after the working conditions of the doctor and nurse are almost the same, and there is not much difference in the mental load. Not to mention the liability, as it’s the same problem if the nurse makes a mistake. No wonder people complain about healthcare that doesn’t help care for the sick
– explained Adrianna Soós, who also said that in terms of base salaries, even after current increases, a graduate nurse still works an average of sixty percent less at the same institution as a doctor. A health care worker with a high school education will receive only 25 percent of a physician’s salary even after the current increase in physicians and professionals’ wages.
who – which Zoltan Balogh, The head of the Hungarian Chamber of Healthcare Professionals (MESZK) also assured the index that the current increase, which healthcare professionals are expected to receive in February, will not close the huge wage gap between medical and professional wages. All this still does not particularly enhance the cohesion of employees in the workplace, which is also one of the prerequisites for patient care.
Hungarian nurses are already in Austria
Since Hungarian training for healthcare workers, nurses, midwives, doctors, pharmacists and dentists are subject to EU directives, their qualifications are automatically recognized in all EU countries. In other words, with the right language skills, entrepreneurship, and of course opportunities, they can exist anywhere in the union. If they only go to Austria, then even a more modestly qualified health professional earns a total of 2,400-2,600 euros per month. And colleagues with higher education can already be included in the salary range of 3000-3500-3800, not to mention the thirteenth and fourteenth month salary. Needless to say, local wage levels do not compete with these amounts. Thus, it is no wonder that Austria and Germany have already attracted tens of thousands of well-trained Hungarian workers from the Hungarian public health sector. According to a local statistical summary for 2020, a doctor working in Germany earns 67-70 percent of the gross salary of 6000 euros or more, depending on age, and at least 55 percent of those with a secondary education. However, the medical payroll introduced at home last year has greatly exacerbated this situation at the expense of professionals. In the middle of last summer, it was clear that this percentage of wages would drop from the previous 54 percent to 36 percent, and the process would deteriorate further in 2022, reaching 20-25 percent. The gap between graduates specializing in health and non-medical graduates is also increasing.
Epic pay increase
- Between 2000 and 2015, there was a year in which health professionals’ earnings, which have generally declined in general, fell sharply after some benefits were removed from the system.
- The first pay increase was returned in 2012 because most health professionals, who were largely looking for a guaranteed minimum wage at the time, earned the same amount, regardless of who had qualifications and how many years of work experience.
- By 2015, a massive crisis situation emerged as a result of mass sectoral migration and growing discontent.
- All this culminated in the fact that more than ten thousand people took to the streets to demonstrate the unions of health workers and the movements of their professional rooms.
- After the big demonstration, the decision-makers finally sat down to negotiate with the unions and the public body, as a result of which an agreement was reached on a multi-stage compensation for wages for doctors and physicians as of September 1, 2016.
- At first, healthcare had an average baseline increase of 24.5 percent that summer, which was quite historic.
- Then, as of October 2016, the government decided on a new increase in the general minimum wage, which largely resulted in the reset of basic salaries for health professionals.
- Thus, as of January 2017, the starting salary for health care workers had fallen below the guaranteed minimum wage again, and by then the well-distributed wage bill had begun to collapse again.
- In 2017, 2018, and 2019, the government adopted additional healthcare wage increases, with 12, 8 and 8 percent of the improvements in the next three phases.
- But as of July 2019, salaries for primary health care workers have only reached the guaranteed minimum wage with various sectoral compensation and additions.
- In 2019, the second major four-step process of raising the base salary for healthcare professionals began, up fourteen, twenty, and thirty percent over the base year 2018.
- There was no employee pay increase at all in 2021, so compared to the recent increase, only a 21% increase will be made with January salaries.
Four patients have two patients instead of two
If the government intends to improve the situation of workers in the sector, the national economic measures for To have an appropriate number and degree of colleagues. In the meantime, we are receiving feedback about deteriorating conditions, compared to other sectors, skilled health professionals being paid less and less.
Zoltan Balogh explained to the indicator. With colleagues for nearly a decade and a half siege Leaders to provide a predictable vision for the healthcare profession.
While doctors will continue until 2023 Three-step wage increase program It’s still a work in progress, and until then, workers won’t see more than the current January paycheck coming in February. Just as there is no agreement yet on increasing employee wages.
All this according to the leaders of the call Working conditions deteriorated In recent years, for example, the workload of a nurse has doubled, and she has had to care for several patients in the same time period. That is why it is so important for the government to issue in the coming weeks a wage bill for at least 2023, regarding compensation for doctors’ wages and setting its principles. As a guarantee, in addition to doctors, the state counts professionals in the same way, and the administration sees health care as a whole.
Today, the professional community usually lives from month to month and accumulates large amounts of debt many times over. He is also forced to work countless hours to earn a living. So something urgently needs to be done here to preserve so many well-trained health workers whose departure would be a huge loss.
Lessons have been learned by leaders of organizations representing health professionals who have submitted reports to the Index.
They experience retirement as redemption
While physicians typically continue to work past retirement age, health professionals count the days and retire as quickly as possible. The Chamber did not measure the national shortage of health professionals during the slow two-year period of the epidemic, so according to the latest data, in November 2019, the shortage of specialists in most publicly funded Hungarian healthcare institutions ranged from 5 to 15 percent. “At the same time, in the western border region, in the capital and in the capitals of the largest provinces, this proportion exceeded 15-20-25 percent, especially in inpatient care,” said the chamber’s president. The privileged immigration has already worsened with the entry into force of the new statutory service for public welfare at the beginning of March last year. This loss is exacerbated by the fact that, according to the leaders of the organizations reporting to the index, the number of young graduates leaving training has steadily and radically decreased in recent years.
(Cover Photo: Doctors and nurses wearing protective gear visit the Covid ward set up to receive patients infected with the coronavirus on May 14, 2020. Photo: Zoltán Balogh/MTI)
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