Thanks to the changes implemented over the last few years, the financial situation and the professional standards of the Hungarian Defence Forces Medical Centre have by now significantly improved, the Minister of Defence said on Monday, March 24 while giving an assessment in the institution.

The Minister reminded his audience that when the MoI hospital, the Szabolcs St. hospital and the Military Hospital had been merged in July 2007 – “supposedly with the purpose of saving money” –, a single institution had been burdened with all the tasks, and the performance volume limit had been reduced to half. In 2010, they took over a hospital which had been established with a wrong concept, burdened with huge tasks and insufficiently financed.

Csaba Hende said that from 2010 on, the Ministry of Defence regularly notified the State Secretariat for Health Care that the available funding was not enough for fulfilling the tasks assigned to the institution. In order to deal with the situation, the Ministry of Defence appointed a ministerial commissioner in 2012 to review the task system and financial management of the hospital.

The government set the Military Hospital the goal of achieving a saving of HUF 1.5 billion, while the scope of patient care for the hospital was increasing further, in accordance with the Semmelweis Plan. Regarding some professions, for example the treatment of burn patients, potentially 4.5 million people are assigned to the hospital, and many other professions have patient numbers around 1.5 million. Despite all these, and with its funding reduced to half, the hospital performed 17 per cent more last year – besides, it was also able to reduce the deficit by half, with around HUF 4 billion, the Minister pointed out. In addition to these results in financial management, considering the standards and complexity of treatment, the Military Hospital reaches the level of university clinics, Csaba Hende added.

The Budapest Military Hospital has a staff of 3600 – including 662 soldiers –, which provides health care for 1.2 million outpatients and 60,000 in-patients every year.  The running costs of the hospital total around HUF 26 billion per year.

At the same time, the Minister pointed out that the developments would continue into the future.  He noted that the institution had not received any EU funds at all during the previous EU funding cycle. This situation has to be changed, too, the Minister stated, and went on saying that the plans include, among others, the development of cardiology care, and the still existing, irrational patient pathways will be corrected too. Csaba Hende added that with further effective support from the State Secretariat for Health Care, the Military Hospital will occupy an outstanding role in providing health care services for the region and the country.

The president of the Hungarian Hospital Association said that the institution has by now reached a certain order of functioning. György Velkey pointed out that he considers the Hungarian Defence Forces Medical Centre an asset of enormous professional value from the point of view of the Hungarian health care system.

Maj.-Gen. István Szabó, the commandant of the hospital said that they had gone through an eventful period full of changes. There was an especially remarkable change in 2012, when, under a ministerial commissioner, an audit started to review the organizational structure, tasks and financial management of the hospital, and, as he said, this audit would end in April this year. During this period, they have been continuously providing patient care as well as force health protection for soldiers from Afghanistan to Mali, and from Cyprus to the Balkans.

In his speech, Gen. Tibor Benkő, Chief of the Defence Staff pointed out that the Hungarian Defence Forces have important health care tasks both in peacetime and periods other than peacetime, so the Budapest Military Hospital was put back to its place when it became an element in the TOE of the Hungarian Defence Forces again.  This transformation has been successful, so now they can keep track of the soldiers from their admission to their final rehabilitation, and are able to perform periodical screenings and aptitude tests more effectively, in a well-organized system, the Chief of Defence stressed.