The general practitioner (GP) service is a crucial form of primary care that ensures preventive services and medical treatment in the proximity of the individual’s place of residency. If necessary, the GP also takes care of the patient’s referral to further out- or inpatient medical services.
In Hungary, every citizen with a social security coverage is entitled for the GP service, regardless of gender, age or nature of the disease. Everyone has the right to choose their GP at their place of residency or in the proximity of that. It is also possible to choose a GP from another region, however, in that case the GP has to confirm that he or she is willing to include and has the capacity to care for the person in his or her praxis.
Enlistment of GP service
For the first occasion, a personal visit is required at the chosen GP’s office, where the doctor initiates the necessary documentation (opens a folder for the patient), takes the medical history and performs a medical examination. From this time on, the insured patient can contact their GP anytime if they have questions or problems regarding their health.
If contacting their chosen GP is not feasible, the geographically designated (based on their home or place of residency) GP or the assigned substituting physician needs to be contacted. The designated physician can be looked up based on the street of the place of residency on the website of the local government.
Before providing care, the GP checks whether the patient is listed in the registry of patients entitled to medical care issued by National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary (Nemzeti Egészségbiztosítási Alapkezelő, NEAK). If the patient is not listed in the registry, the doctor cannot refuse medical care provision, but after getting medical care, the patient has to contact the local government office in order to settle their medical insurance coverage.
The GP’s scope of activities
The GP provides medical care 8 hours a day, with a minimum of 15 weekly working hours and a minimum of daily 2 working hours. On weekdays, the GP service is provided at the GP’s office. In certain situations, the GP provides care at the patient’s home or place of residency. There are certain paid services ensured by the GP, such as the issuance of an injury report, a report for eligibility for weapon possession or a report for eligibility for vehicle driving.
The GP’s scope of activities is diverse, the following list includes the main activities:
- Preserving citizens’ health conditions, preventing and treating diseases and ensuring health promotion and health education.
- Directing the patient to the appropriate health care provider institution (in- and outpatient departments and nursing care facilities).
- Ensuring prenatal care, providing consultations regarding health promotion and health education or about other health-related topics and performing or organizing screening tests as well.
- Helping patients’ rehabilitation and nursing care.
- Prescriings medications and organizing the administrative parts of the different patient routes.
- If necessary, organizing the patient’s sick leave and issuing proof of disability to work. They also organize administration regarding compulsory and recommended vaccinations.
- If necessary, performing coroner service and handling the related administration.
The GP also plays a role in reporting for child protective services. If necessary, they organize paramedic services and perform emergency care until the paramedic service arrives.
The GP Pediatrician’s scope of activities
For minors (patients under the age of 18 the GP Pediatrician provides primary and preventive care, but for children between 14-18, by choice, the adult GP service is also accessible. The GP Pediatrician provides care for infants and children, ensures counseling and (if necessary) provides medical care at the family’s home.
The GP Pediatrician contacts the mother and the child in the first days after birth and certifies the right of the parent to stay out of work because of nursing care. When the child reaches the age of 5, the GP Pediatrician performs certain examinations to determine whether the child is mature for school admission and handles the related administrative process.
GP on-call service
For ensuring continuous primary care for adults and children (later: GP service) outside of the regular working hours, on weekends and on holidays, a GP on-call service must be provided. The framework of the on-call services is determined in legal contracts agreed on by the local governments and the GPs.
The GP on-call service provides medical care outside of regular working hours in case of medical emergencies, life-threatening situations or in other cases when urgent medical care is needed.
If you consider the situation extremely severe that needs immediate intervention, but there is no time for an on-call medical service, call 112 and ask for the paramedics!
The place and timeframe of on-call services are determined by the local governments. The availability information is available on the local government’s websites, in medical care facilities and at the doctor’s offices. The doctor on-call will only provide medical care out of their office, or at the home of the patient, if that is indeed reasonable: when the patient has a disability to move or has a serious disease.
The on-call GP service does not substitute the medical care provided by the GP during regular working hours. If a patient wants to contact the doctor with a problem that is not urgent (e.g. getting prescriptions), they might take valuable time and human resources away from another patient who is indeed in serious need of urgent care.
GP primary care districts and on-call service order
The primary care districts and the operating conditions (e.g. doctor’s offices) of the GP and GP Pediatrician services are ensured by the local government, while the professional directions, the personal conditions and requirements of medical equipment are set out in legislation. The available GP services, primary care districts and on-call services might vary among different settlements as these conditions are determined in the agreements between the local governments and the doctors, hence, for further details on this topic, please, visit the website of your local government.
Click here for the list of GPs who have work contracts with the National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary to primary provide care.