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Life expectancy at birth is increasing, with diminishing differences between figures for men and women. Be that as it may, people's overall health did not improve: more and more people are overweight, bringing about serious health consequences. In terms of cardiovascular and cancer mortality, Hungary is a global “leader”. The state of the welfare system more and more miserable, the situation increasingly becoming distressing due to a shortage of professionals and the exodus of doctors and certified nurses. Budgetary spending on medication was heavily cut in 2010. The number of new procedures and  products registered or licensed is low, and consequently, the Hungarian pharmaceutical industry is increasingly lagging behind the global leaders. Though the hospitals were nationalized, this measure has not yet yielded any observable benefits, with the hospital care system producing a yearly HUF 100 billion deficit.


Public spending on health

Public spending on health care has increased in 2011 mainly due to wage raises for medical professionals, also well below the regional averages. The spending still remains 2 percentage points below the EU average as a share of the GDP. The health-care outcomes do not necessarily reflect this; however the low share of spending is visible in dramatic decreases in medical personnel, already leading to breaks in the provision of medical services on several occasions. The spending in itself is not a goal but an indicator of resource allocation. 


Status of the health care system

An annual rate of decrease of doctors per 1000 inhabitants of 2 to 3 % is extremely alarming especially in the context of demographic ageing where additional recourses will need to be allocated to provide adequate medical care for the elderly. The number of hospital beds compared to the number of the population has remained constant and is sufficient according to experts. We do not have comparative statistics at the EU level in this regard. Though difficult to quantify, there are increasing problems with the safety of care in the Hungarian health care system. The "institution" of irregular payments flowing from patients to health practitioners is also highly toxic to the health care system.


Status of health

The expected number of years spent in good health increased by almost two years between 2008 and 2012, despite the crisis. It is even better news that the increase for men amounted to  4.4 years, thus reducing the gap between men and women significantly at the national level. The difference compared to the EU average is less than one and a half years for women and two years for men, but if the present trend continues, the gap will soon disappear.

There has been a slight improvement in terms of the proportion of the population reporting good health status. In 2012, 57.9 percent of the population claimed to be in good health. The EU average in the same year was 69 percent. This means that on average, EU citizens more often report good health status.


Causes of deaths

The number of deaths is decreasing, in line with international trends. The main causes of death are still cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Concerning the latter, the situation is particularly bad in an international comparison. The incidence of suicides is decreasing, but still very high in Hungary.



Extreme child poverty in Hungary is increasing at an alarming rate. This phenomenon, however, can only partially be glimpsed from the European comparative statistics. Moreover, the share of children who only get to eat in day care or at school has been estimated at least around 20 000-40 000 by different sources, which is around 2.5% to 5% of all children aged between 3 and 10. This state of affairs is intolerable in contemporary Europe. Urgent action is required to ensure that the latter figure becomes zero and the share of malnourished households is diminished so that it comes close to the regional average in the next 1-2 years.



The amount of money spent on tobacco and alcohol in Hungary is very high.  Accordingly, respiratory diseases and the loss of life brought about by these diseases are highly prevalent, which equally holds for alcohol-related physical and mental diseases. Patterns of drug use changed a lot in the last decade. The consumption of traditional drugs (such as Heroin) fell back, but a lot of new substances have appeared (the so-called Designer drugs), representing a challenge the health care system is not prepared to face.