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(I'm presuming that is public sector service, no bribes required?)

Half-yes and no. Family doctors, what Americans call GP, and a few others like dentists became private shortly after 1989 - but (1) with strong regulation, (2) and at least with GPs, not much changed in practice: people still would like to go to the nearest doctor, and competition is limited by doctors themselves not wanting too many patients. (I know this from own experience, I dislike my own doctor and once asked the one next door to take me.) As for bribes, they are said to be near-universal in Hungary, for the same reason as in Poland (but, heh, I myself never paid it).

Furthermore, I only spoke about getting tested and looked at - not about treatment. (I don't know about other places, but in Hungary, under communism special centres for all kinds of medical checks and instant treatment were built across the country, separate from hospitals and the even more local family doctors.)

Many hospitals are run-down (tough not as much as at some other places) - patients often don't have enough room, are even sent home, staff is overworked and correspondingly unkind, the buildings are in bad shape, and with machine breakdowns it happens that the ambulance car is sent to another hotel. As I wrote in that diary a few months back, the 'solution' to this in all politicians' head was further wrecking it with first cash-starvation then privatisation of the profitable parts, but the political mess around a don't-privatise-hospitals referendum and the all-too obvious public opinion made them stop. In fact, the 180-degree-turn policies of the current government seem to have borne some improvements (my personal observations only).

(BTW, I myself have the privilege of access to one of the top-rated hospitals in the country: it happens to belong to the state railway, and my job contract gives me full rights to its services free. I also have a second "GP", the 'works doctor', tough unfortunately too far away from home.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Oct 17th, 2005 at 06:35:20 PM EST
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