The government is committed to improving basic health care services. Since 2010, the funds allocated for basic dental care has increased from HUF 22 billion to HUF 33 billion.

This means an increase of as much as several million forints per practice annually. The funding of dental practices has increased in recent years, dentists are eligible for utility and settlement grants, and we also seek to improve the working conditions of dentists serving in small communities through the Hungarian Villages Programme. The Ministry of Human Capacities continues to work on the details and is maintaining an ongoing dialogue.

For months the Ministry of Human Capacities has been engaged in talks with the interest representation concerned in order to increase the funding of dentists working in basic care on the basis of mutual agreement. A large majority of the county presidents elected by dentists who attended the meeting of the Dentist Section of the Hungarian Chamber of Physicians which was held last week accepted our proposal 19 to 3.

We wish to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that the dentists’ “strike” is misleading and unlawful. Only 288 of the 2,994 dental practices providing state-financed basic care signed the open letter in which they refuse to provide care for two weeks from 2 September 2019. They only represent a mere 9.6 per cent of the dentists concerned, and most of them are not even public servants. Therefore, in the case of the majority of the protesting dentists, the term “strike” simply does not make sense from a legal point of view, and is as such unlawful and misleading.

In our view, it mostly only serves political campaign purposes. Contracted dentists – meaning dentists who are not public servants – are obliged to provide services for those living in their respective districts, patients contacting them with acute complaints during their normal consulting hours as well as chronic patients who would suffer a health impairment in the absence of medical attention. In the present case, the principal was not informed of the planned strike in advance and did not grant its consent thereto. Therefore, those who go on strike under the circumstances proceed unlawfully as do those “taking leave” in large numbers.

(Ministry of Human Capacities/MTI)