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Hungary plans to modernize health-care system with EU funds

Hungary wants health-care providers to apply for billions of forints in government financing to modernize the country's health services, with hundreds of billions more available from the European Union starting next year. “The goal of health reform is to create a system that's fair and in line with European Union standards rather than the deformed, unfair system we have now -- a system that everyone is fed up with,” Health Minister Lajos Molnár said at a press conference in Budapest yesterday. “We can only accomplish this through radical reform.” Molnár, who became health minister in June, has described Hungary's health-care system has pledged to attract more private money for health care. Beginning next month, the government will begin inviting bids to finance improvements to the system, to be judged by a committee from the health-care industry, Molnár said. Bids to modernize emergency services, cancer services and children's medical facilities will get priority, he said. The amount of money available will depend on the number of applications the committee receives and the kinds of improvements they propose. The government may spend Ft 5 billion ($23.2 million) this year, and hundreds of billions of forints in EU money will also be available starting in 2007, he said. (Bloomberg)