The primary care ensures continuous, long-term medical care for the individual based on personal contact. It is available and provided at one’s place of residency or nearby regardless of gender, age or nature of the disease.
With its holistic approach, primary care is reliable not only for medical therapies of the individual but also for their state of health.
The primary care’s scope of activities with regard to patients and individuals:
- services for prevention and early diagnosis of diseases;
- follow-ups on the individual’s state of health and supporting health promotion and education, health development, promoting a conscious, healthy lifestyle;
- medical treatment under certain expertise set out in legislation, medical follow-up and rehabilitation with given diagnostic and therapeutic background;
- referring to specialists in order to establish a diagnosis, creating a treatment plan or special medical care;
- providing medical treatment, organizing nursing care at the patient’s home and rehabilitation with regard to the treatment plan suggested by the specialist;
- in special cases, providing medical care at the patient’s home or asking for a consultation with a specialist at the patient’s home.
Choosing a GP and a GP Pediatrician
The GP and the GP Pediatricians can be chosen by an adult with full legal capacity. In case of incapacitated subjects, minors and subjects lacking partial or full legal capacity regarding their rights, their rightful legal guardian can choose their GPs and GP Pediatricians.
Enlisting any forms of the primary medical care is usually a choice for a long period of time, and it cannot be modified from time to time.
Primary care districts
Primary care is provided based on a system of the so-called “primary care districts”. Primary care districts are geographically determined areas, designated in directives by local government representatives. When designating the districts, the board of representatives take the aspects of the “Praxis manager” (appointed by the Hungarian government) into account, and the directives of the National Healthcare Service Center (NHSC, OKFŐ) - and in case of health-visitor service, the directives of the head of the National Public Health Center (Nemzeti Népegészségügyi Központ, NNK) -, and other governmental institutions authorized for issuing health-care operating licenses.
The district’s medical care provider has territorial obligation for providing medical care.
Primary care units
Traditionally, primary care is provided by medical practices, but in the recent decades, new forms of units have been established, based on medical cooperation. Practice communities provide GP, GP Pediatrician, dental primary care and health-visitor services, while Practice groups ensure GP, GP Pediatrician and legally set-out outpatient services, too.
Primary Care availability and its field of actions
The provision of primary healthcare and services aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle is the responsibility of local governments.
The local government ensures within the scopes of primary care:
- GP services;
- GP Pediatrician services;
- dental primary care;
- adult and children GP on-call services and on-call dental services;
- health-visitor services;
- school physician services.
Primary care provides employee-health services as well. Employee health visits, however, have to be covered by the employer.
GP and GP Pediatrician
The GP personally provides continuous medical care for the individual in order to preserve state of health, prevent, diagnose and treat diseases, hence to support health promotion and education.
The GP Pediatrician provides medical care for minors who have not reached the age of 19. GP Pediatric care can be provided for minors between 14-19 age by choice.
Dental primary care
The dentist offers preventive care and treatment for dental and oral diseases. For more details see dental primary care.
The health-visitor ensures personal and community care in order to preserve state of health, preventing illnesses, helping early recognition of diseases and supporting health promotion and education for pregnant women, people under the age of 19 and people concerned with family planning.
Furthermore, the health-visitor organizes screening tests for women aged 25-65.
School physician service
School physician service provides personal and community care in order to preserve state of health, preventing illnesses, helping early recognition of diseases and supporting health promotion and education.
The preventive measures of the school physician service are available for minors after establishment of student status until the age of 18 and for adults (above the age of 18) who study in full-time educational programs.
Nursing care and hospice service at home
Nursing care and hospice service is also available within the scope of primary care at the patient’s home or place of residency. These services’ purpose is to substitute inpatient care.
Employee-health service focuses on preserving the employees’ health in accordance with environmental factors at work and strains originating from work. Its role is to identify and influence workload, and determine, control and promote employees’ fitness for work during employee health visits.
The primary care on-call service is part of the emergency medical care. The emergency medical care’s duty is to provide personal medical care or medical care by using the means of telemedicine, for patients with acute symptoms, pain or acute state worsening. If it is necessary, the on-call service ensures medical care at the patient’s home or place of residency.
GP and GP Practitioner on-call services
GP and GP Pediatrician duties are provided in the form of centralized on-call services after daytime working hours. The on-call service and the centralized on-call service are provided by the GP with territorial obligation of medical care provision set out in the agreement with the local government.
For more details see GP service and GP on-call services.
Dental on-call services
Providing dental on-call services is obligatory in the capital, in county seats and in county towns on rest days and legal holidays in the form of (at least) 6 service hours.
For availability of the services see the websites of the local government or ask for information at the local doctor’s office.