“It’s a lot of money, and I also say it’s a lot of money. But if you take me to the nursing department, there are 120-130-140 thousand nursing fees there and then you just go to the institution”
– A year ago to a relative of an elderly woman, she asked and received a total of 170,000 forints a few minutes before the sentence was pronounced so that the woman could stay in the ward, a chief nurse working in the chronic disease ward of a hospital in Budapest said.
Moreover, the 170,000 was not a one-time payment, but a monthly fee.The elderly, chronically ill woman had to be hospitalized last year due to internal medicine issues because nursing at home was no longer possible because she needed an intravenous and infusion antibiotic. The elderly woman was first taken to the emergency department of one of the large hospitals in Budapest, where, according to our subject, K., everything was done to get rid of her as quickly as possible. In the end, the relative managed to transfer the elderly woman to another hospital, where she spent four days and then “spent” from there, claiming that she did not need hospital care, while K said she was in much worse condition than when he was admitted.
Then the old woman was taken to the hospital which is the focus of our story. He was initially admitted to the emergency department, where he was transferred to internal medicine 12 hours after intravenous infusion. On the other hand, K feared he would be kicked out of here as well, while he was also aware that there were several years of waiting lists in nursing homes, and he needed an immediate solution.
Then came advice from an acquaintance to find a chief nurse in the hospital’s chronic disease department who knew a solution to their problem.K also met the head nurse who immediately put before him a list of how much the staff in the ward had to pay each month to the elderly lady to stay in the ward.
Accordingly you have to pay monthly:
- 50,000 HUF for the head of the department,
- 20 thousand for his deputy,
- 25 thousand head nurses,
- 5 thousand for physiotherapists,
- The ten sisters have 7,000 per person.
In nursing wards, they can charge a daily fee, but the maximum can be up to 800 forints per day. On the other hand, in this hospital, there was no per diem for care in the ward, so the woman would have had free care.
K did not have option, he was afraid that if he did not pay, the old woman would be discharged from the hospital, so in an envelope addressed to everyone separately, 170 thousand forints were taken to the hospital and delivered to the hospital. Head nurse.
During one of the conversations, it was also discussed that the head nurse could arrange for him not to have to wait on a waiting list of 4-5 years in a nursing home in Budapest, if they paid another million forints for the house in addition to the front desk. This money had to be paid in advance as a kind of deposit and it would have taken at least 1-2 months for it to be arranged for a place, and this carried the risk of the old woman dying by that time and the sum was over. in vain.
In the end, 1 million HUF was not paid for the nursing home location, and the hospital nurse did not have to pay the next monthly fee either, as the elderly woman died that month.
Immediate internal investigation
After learning about K.’s story, we contacted the hospital director to share the information with him, but based on our similar experiences thus far, we were certain we would not get an answer, perhaps rudely driving us away or threatening us with a judge.
However, the reaction of the hospital administration was completely different. The manager, obliging money against gratitude, was first shocked by the story, asked us for all the information, and then launched an internal investigation. The internal investigation was unsuccessful, so the National Defense Agency (NSA) was contacted and an investigation began. A few months later, the NVSZ filed a complaint with the police, where the chief nurse is currently under investigation.
Police are tough, appear in early August in her contacts The following can be read:
Based on the report of the National Defense Service, the Department for Combating Corruption and Economic Crimes of the Budapest Police Headquarters ordered an investigation into the criminal suspicion of accepting bribery. According to the available data, the chief nurse of the capital’s hospital took money from relatives to treat an elderly woman for one month, which would otherwise be free for a patient subject to social security. Budapest police questioned the 45-year-old chief of nursing as a suspect, and did not testify.
Violations are coded into the system
According to Purbala Firenzeli, an expert with the Freedom Rights Association (HCLU), it is absolutely correct that as soon as the director of the hospital became aware of the suspicion of corruption, he launched an investigation. At the same time, it should also be noted that this is not an individual case, but a systemic problem, which is the focus of the chronic class.
This may be because, on the one hand, sick elderly people who need continuous care have to be placed in social institutions, but there are long waiting lists in these institutions and they are also very expensive. And for home care, finding a nurse is harder and not cheap. Therefore, relatives are forced to somehow keep their loved ones in the nursing departments of hospitals. By the way, hospitals are not necessarily at a disadvantage from this either, because they may charge a daily fee for care in these wards, but the state costs a lot for this kind of care.
“As long as the care system is not set up to house or professional home care for patients in need of care, and at the same time the salaries of professionals are much lower than expected, similar cases can be expected in Hungary,” Borbala Fernizli said.
According to Fernizzelli, if good care had been available to everyone who needed it, it would have been clear that the relatives would not have paid bribes for it.
“However, because not everyone has good quality care, violations are coded into the system, which means that this is just one symptom of problems in the health care system,” he explains.
The HCLU expert believes it is important to treat and investigate a specific condition, the symptoms, and punish the person who needs it, but the underlying problem will remain.
“Such a case should draw attention to this and promote systemic change, rather than just blowing dust on existing stakeholders,” Fernelli said.
To make the characters in the story unidentifiable, we have changed the names and some information about the individuals that do not affect the story.
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Cover photo: TBG