Hungary’s healthcare crisis: Doctors seeking hope abroad


In Hungary, the heartbeat of healthcare is faltering as doctors, like Dr. Zoltán Holt, once passionate healers in Budapest, now find themselves torn between duty and desperation.

Dr. Holt’s departure from his homeland wasn’t an easy decision; it was born out of relentless stress, grueling hours, and the weight of financial strain. “The stress got so bad that I had to take a mix of four blood pressure pills just to function,” he reveals, his voice tinged with the lingering ache of sacrifice.

Across Hungary, physicians like Dr. Holt are not alone in their struggle. Dr. Adrianna Soós, Chairman of Hungary’s healthcare association, stands as a beacon of advocacy for her colleagues. 

She sheds light on the plight of doctors, grappling with irregular schedules that chip away at their personal lives. Despite recent attempts to offer financial reprieve, many doctors find themselves trapped in a cycle of exhaustion.


Botswana offers to send Germany 20,000 elephants

Genetic clues to left-handedness revealed

European pasta market beats to Turkish durum

Dr. István Körmendi, a venerable figure in Budapest’s medical community, paints a vivid picture of the consequences of this healthcare crisis. 

“There’s a long wait for medical care, especially for surgeries like hip replacements,” he laments, his wrinkled brow betraying a lifetime of concern for his patients. With each passing day, the strain on the system grows, leaving patients with no choice but to seek solace in private healthcare, further fracturing the delicate balance of accessibility.

The numbers tell a somber tale: a mere 33,000 doctors stand against a tide of 9.7 million patients in Hungary, revealing one of the most acute doctor-to-patient disparities in the EU. 

The ratio of doctors to the number of patients in Hungary is a huge concern./ CGTN Europe

The ratio of doctors to the number of patients in Hungary is a huge concern./ CGTN Europe

Dr. Holt, now practising in Germany, finds solace in a newfound sense of belonging. “The working conditions in Germany are much better,” he says, the weight of his words softened by a glimmer of hope. “Within three years there, I became a chief physician.”

Yet, as Dr. Holt finds his footing in foreign lands, Hungary’s healthcare system remains on shaky ground.

The departure of its brightest minds and most compassionate hands leaves a void that cannot be easily filled. 

Until Hungary confronts the root causes of this crisis – the systemic neglect, the erosion of morale, the hollowing out of hope – it will continue to grapple with an uncertain future. For now, the nation stands at a crossroads, where the choice between resilience and resignation hangs heavy in the air.

Subscribe to Storyboard: A weekly newsletter bringing you the best of CGTN every Friday