All clinics and hospitals have to be approved and registered with the government health department and all doctors have to be registered and receive permission to practise from the Chamber of Medicine (Orvosi Kamara).
Hospitals ( Kórház) can be recognized by a white "H" on a blue background and are listed in the yellow pages under Kórházak és Klinikák.
Doctors and General Practitioners (GPs)
It is always recommended to make an appointment as waiting times can be long. If you need urgent help, you go without an appointment during office hours, but expect to wait.
To see a doctor you only need to bring your social security card (in case you live and or work in Hungary) or a health insurance voucher/European Health Insurance Card (in any other cases).
You can find a doctor ( orvos) in the Yellow Pages (Arany oldalak). General practitioners are listed under Egészségügy. If you need a doctor that speaks your native language, contact your embassy or consulate as they can often provide a list.
Note that standard cover by your health insurance does not give you the right to choose your doctor, this may be important as not all doctors may speak your language.
Medications and Pharmacies
Medications and pharmacies are widely available throughout Hungary, but you will find your travels more relaxed if you take any necessary medications with you. When travelling to Hungary, you are allowed to bring medicines for your personal use. However, products containing narcotic substances can only be imported with a special permission from the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Prescriptions brought from abroad are not accepted at local pharmacies.
Pharmacies (Gyógyszertár, Patika), often marked with an illuminated green cross (or with the symbol of a snake coiled up around a cup), are easy to spot. In case you fall ill, go to a pharmacy, describe your symptoms and the pharmacist will probably be able to recommend an over-the-counter remedy. Certain medicines (painkillers, headache tablets etc.) are also available without prescription at petrol-stations, drugstores or even in supermarkets. Still, the most secure places to get controlled and well-stored medicines are pharmacies.
When covered by the Health Insurance Fund, you are entitled to a free focal examination (i.e. examination of patients for dental focal infection: routine examination and treatment in acute cases) by a dentist in Hungary. For any additional treatment, however, patients have to pay an excess.
Unfortunately, many expatriate employees do not receive dental cover from their companies’ medical plans. If you are provided with dental cover, it is most likely below the standard you are used to from your home country. It is therefore recommended to take out additional expatriate dental insurance to cover the shortfall.
Expatriate dental insurance has two main areas of cover:
- Routine Dental Treatment provides you with cover for standard procedures including examination, cleaning, fillings, root treatments, extraction, surgery, x-Rays, emergency treatment, local anaesthesia and prescriptions.
- Special dental treatment: covers for almost all dental problems. This level of coverage usually includes gold jackets, crowns, bridgework, build-up, tooth adjustment, dentures and repairs etc.
Dental treatments performed in hospitals are usually cheaper; nevertheless expats and dental-care-tourists prefer private dental care. Treatment is of high quality for a relatively low price – as many Austirans might confirm – and the practisinc dentists are genereally excellently trained and work with the latest echnology. Also, dentists and dental clinics in Hungary offer dentures at much lower prices than in most EU countries. Dentists usually speak German, English or Italian.
In Hungary there is also an abundance of opticians: complete eye exam, laser vision correction and glasses are all easily available.
American Clinics International can refer you to an Ophthalmologist who speaks English and is trusted by the expat community. Their address is: Hattyuház, Fifth Floor, Hattyu utca 14, 1015 Budapest, Tel. 224-9090, www.XPATLOOP.com
Private medical facilities
Private medical facilities are much better equipped and meet international standards but are relatively expensive. Still, many visitors take advantage of a range of different medical treatments (cosmetic and plastic surgery, general surgery, dental surgery and other treatments) at a much lower price than in their home countries. The private system works on a treat-and-then-pay scheme. Private hospitals often insist on confirmation of insurance cover or guarantee of payment before admitting patients. Doctors and public hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment for services rendered.