The Hungarian Guide - Investing and retiring in Hungary

  • A stunning capital with unique setting A stunning capital with unique setting
  • walking and birdwatching paradise walking and birdwatching paradise
  • undisturbed nature rich in rare species undisturbed nature rich in rare species
  • enjoy the 144 mile lakeside cycle track enjoy the 144 mile lakeside cycle track
  • Teeming with History Teeming with History
  • over 300 Thermal Health Spas and warm lakes over 300 Thermal Health Spas and warm lakes
  • picturesque lakes with Carp weighing over 100 lb picturesque lakes with Carp weighing over 100 lb
  • Feast on delicious sunripened local fruit Feast on delicious sunripened local fruit
  • Lake Balaton gets as warm as the Caribbean in the summer Lake Balaton gets as warm as the Caribbean in the summer
  • Tranquil Lake Balaton Tranquil Lake Balaton
  • Lush rolling hills of western Hungary Lush rolling hills of western Hungary
  • buy a thatched cottage for under £30 000.. buy a thatched cottage for under £30 000..
  • horsemen and nature lovers paradise horsemen and nature lovers paradise
  • Europe's second largest freshwater lake Europe's second largest freshwater lake
  • A paradise for watersport enthusiasts A paradise for watersport enthusiasts
  • Tihany peninsula- a pearl of history and nature Tihany peninsula- a pearl of history and nature

Healthcare in Hungary- Jacqui’s story

jacqui

My name is Jacqui and I am a 51 year old Brit who has a holiday home near to Lake Balaton, Hungary.

Here is my account of the Hungarian health service.

During July 2001 whilst at work i started to experience a “stitch” sensation in my side. At first I put this down to a muscle strain from over exercise at the gym. I decided to take a break from the gym in the hope a rest would clear things up. However, a week or so later I started feeling off colour and the pain got worse so I decided to make an appointment with my local GP. My usual GP was booked up so i was allocated an appointment with another lady doctor a few days later.

At the first consultation I was not examined just questioned as to the symptoms. The doctor reassured me that it was probably nothing serious and to come back in 2 weeks if the discomfort persisted.

The pain increased over the next 7 days and I lost energy becoming tired and lethargic so I made another appointment with the doctor. This time the doctor did examine me but said it was probably a virus and not to worry. I explained the following week I was due to travel to Hungary for a 2 week holiday and was worried about travelling. The doctor reassured me the rest would do me the power of good and to take it easy whilst on holiday.

My husband and I left the UK on 9th August and caught the Dover to Calais ferry. Accommodation was pre booked at Bacharach on the River Rhine, Leinz in Austria and Ljubljana, Slovenia. During the trip the pain in my side became worse and I now had discomfort even walking. We arrived in Hungary on Friday12th August and as instructed I decided to take things easy and rest.

Things were no better so on the following Tuesday morning I decided it was probably best if I made an appointment to see the doctor in our local village. We went to the surgery and noticed the opening times on the window which stated 8am until 12 noon except Tuesday which was 2 to 5pm. – Typical the one day the doctor is closed in the morning is the day I needed him !

We decided to return later that day when suddenly the locked door opened and we were invited into the surgery by the doctor. He spoke good English and asked how he could help. We first of all apologised for gate crashing his surgery when it was closed. He would have none of it and started to ask questions. After 45 minutes, a thorough examination involving blood pressure, reflexes, pulse etc. he was far from happy and instructed us to travel immediately to Enying a small town 15 minutes drive away where they would take a blood test. He requested that we return to his surgery the following day to discuss the results.

So far we were more than impressed – seeing a doctor when the surgery was closed, blood test results back within 24 hours – service certainly different to the UK !!!

On the same Tuesday evening I felt nauseous so I went to bed early but woke around midnight with intense pain and a cold sweat. My husband decided to take me by car to Siófok hospital a 35 miniutes drive away. I was examined at the A and E and blood tests taken. At 3.30am I received an examination by a gynaecologist and had a CT scan as the doctors tried to understand the problem.

Siofok Hospital

At 4am i was admitted to a side ward and then transferred to the Renal ward at around 8am. I was seen by a Renal specialist shortly after 9am who explained the problem was serious and I would need an operation later that day. I had a huge abscess inside one of my kidneys. A stent needed to be inserted to try and drain the abscess but I was in grave danger of the abscess bursting which would lead to septicaemia. At the same time I was given strong antibiotics.

I was visited by a hospital administrator who noted my details and requested sight of my EHIC medical card. I was reassured all medical expenses would be covered and not to worry. The hospital helped in faxing copies of the medical reports to my travel insurance company back in the UK.

The operation later that day was a success and I was informed that they would know within 7 days if the stent / antibiotics had worked and the kidney could be saved.

Hungarian hospitals work slightly differently than those in the UK. Patients need to provide their own towels, cutlery and cups. Drinks other than tea and coffee also need to be provided.

The food was ok but typical Hungarian. The ward was very clean and the staff very attentive. The more senior doctors spoke very good English but junior staff and nurses less so. The medical equipment used was to a high standard. Even though the ward was shared it only had 3 beds in there and a private bathroom. For the most part I was the only person on the ward.

One notable difference that did stick in my mind was the number of times I was seen by a Renal specialist. Most days the doctors would do the rounds 3 times a day. I asked if this was the norm and apparently so – the doctor responsible for the ward would consider it their duty to see all his patients on an 8 hour shift.

On the 22nd of August I was given mixed news. The good news it was confirmed that it was in fact an abscess and not a tumour. The bad news they couldn’t save the kidney and they would have to operate and remove it the very next day – coincidentally the day we were due to drive back to the UK.

The operation lasted over 3 hours and I woke up in intensive care where I remained for 48 hrs. I remember waking up in the middle of the night immediately after the operation and experiencing pain. I pressed the emergency call button and a nurse appeared. She increased the pain killer dose through an intravenous drip in my arm. She then sat next to me and started to stroke the back of my hand for what seemed like 2 hours.

In total I remained in hospital for 19 days. I had a further small operation on day 16 to clear up the wound. I spent a further 5 days recovering at my holiday home before being allowed to fly home with my husband.

A few days after arriving home my husband flew back out to Hungary to collect the car and thereafter drove back to the UK.

In summary I would have no hesitation in using or recommending the Hungarian health service. The service, care and treatment was first class and with the reciprocal arrangements with the UK the treatment and drugs didn’t cost me a penny.

In fact even today I am convinced being in Hungary rather than the UK saved my life and I will be forever grateful to the wonderful people at Siófok hospital.