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“For the time being, it is not possible to know where there will be so many places, while there are still ten thousand waiting lists, and who will provide them,” Sándor Meleg, president of the Hungarian Association of Social Workers (SZMME), told Szabad Europa. On Tuesday, the parliamentary majority – after some changes – accepted the amendment to the social law.

In addition, negotiations are currently taking place on the adoption of the health law package, which may also have a significant influence on the social sphere. The biggest change in this regard is that, if the amendment is accepted, chronic hospital beds and wards, also known as inpatients, will be transferred from the health sector to the social sector.

It is about the transfer of roughly 2,500 elderly patients, and I don’t really see their place in the social care system where there are waiting lists of tens of thousands. How these patients will be admitted, what institution will receive them and where they will be placed, is absolutely questionable. Who will work there is also a big question, since the sector has been struggling with a very serious labor shortage for years

said Sándor Meleg a for sheet. The amendment to the law allows nursing centers to receive these hospital wards together with the workers, the head of the professional organization of social workers opined.

However, healthcare workers have only just received the wage settlement, so it is possible that they would not be transferred under another legislation. They may keep the salary they receive, but it is not at all certain that they will receive further salary increases. Therefore, it is unlikely that they want to move into the social sphere.

According to the health law package, the handover of chronic beds will be carried out in the first half of next year, and the implementing decrees will be issued at the end of December. A preliminary information is sent to the patients, however, if they do not agree to the transfer, they are practically sent home – Sándor Meleg opined.

The patients’ income and financial background will be examined, and it will be much easier than before to charge the costs of the care to their real estate, property, and even their relatives.

According to the main rule, the costs of care are covered from the income of the beneficiary, but the pension of elderly patients typically does not reach this amount even now

explained the president of SZMME.

In such cases, relatives will be able to enter based on the rules of relative maintenance. They look to see if the patient has children or other relatives who have enough income to pay part of the tablecloth fee

he added. “The amendment to the Social Security Act, which has just been adopted, creates the possibility that the financing of the newly created nursing centers can be passed on to the relatives in a significant part. Based on the amendment to the law, these centers can exact the reimbursement fee very hard from the relatives,” said Sándor Meleg.

Dressed in black body bags, the activists of the Utcazör Lakásba Egyesület, which deals with housing issues, protested against the planned amendment.