Swiss subsidies usher in healthcare improvements in Hungary

The Swiss-Hungarian cooperation program (SMEP) is to serve as a model in the development of healthcare.

A bilateral framework agreement between the Swiss and Hungarian governments has been signed thanks to the Swiss-Hungarian Health Forum, under which Hungary will receive a national co-financing of around HUF 40 billion. 

Several billion of this substantial sum will be used to develop healthcare, including the creation of a first-aid training network and the development of hospice and palliative care at the national level. 

“In the first period of the program, with a grant of HUF 3.7 billion, the family medicine practices of the settlements in northern and eastern Hungary were formed into practice communities, as a result of which the family medicine and pediatric practices were supplemented with health professionals with different competencies, dieticians, physiotherapists, health psychologists, public health specialists, and community practice nurses, said the deputy state secretary responsible for financing and development of the health sector.

In the second period of the program, he said that further important developments are planned in the field of first aid, saving lives, and hospice and palliative care. The health component of the program, which is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), will therefore embrace two domestic initiatives.

The first is the National Ambulance Service project, which aims to create a first-aid training network to save lives, prevent long-term health damage, and reduce health inequalities. The Ministry of the Interior receives support for developing hospice and palliative care (humane care for terminally ill patients) nationally. Its focus is on improving the quality of services and ensuring equal access.

Of the approximately HUF 40 forty billion in support, 3.9 billion will go to vocational training, 4.5 billion to research and innovation, 5.2 billion to finance small and medium-sized enterprises and micro-enterprises, 1 billion to fight human trafficking, 5.2 billion to energy efficiency, and 7 billion to wastewater treatment. 

Healthcare and the social sector, as well as minorities and socially disadvantaged groups, will also benefit, with between HUF 10-11 billion in support planned. The agreement signed by Swiss Ambassador Jean-Francois Paroz and Minister of Regional Development Tibor Navracsics concludes two and a half years of negotiations, and calls for tenders will be published after half a year.

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