Szent Imre Hospital in Budapest had to stop its operation for a few days after a water pipe was broken and left around six hundred patients without water.
What are you to do when you get sick in Budapest? Oh you have nothing to worry about. There are some luxurious hospitals you can always visit; equipped with English speaking staffs, when you have the money. In fact, Budapest is internationally known to be a cheaper destination for medical tourism, especially for dentistry. Sure, rich tourists get to have everything they want, don't they?
Sadly, it is not that simple for the native inhabitants. A Briton (GNP per capita in 2003 = USD 26,650) might say that GBP 700 is cheap for a dental implant, while a Hungarian whose country's GNP per inhabitant in 2003 is USD 5,590 would find it the opposite. As Espicom wrote: "With a population of 10 million, Hungary is a landlocked country in central Europe. It joined the European Union in May 2004. The poor health of the nation remains a problem, especially for men, where life expectancy remains significantly behind western European levels."
To overcome the high cost for medical treatment, the country has a socialized healthcare system where people have to pay 3% of their gross salary; added with 15% which is paid by the employers for their health insurance each month. This insurance covers some free of charge services, such as: preventive medical examinations, medical care by family physicians (primary health care services), dental care, out-patient care, in-patient care, delivery care, medical rehabilitation, patient transportation, and accident health supply.
That was the theory, anyhow. The reality is that you must spend some amount of your salary on the insurance, but you would still have to pay extra costs whenever illness catches you. Dentistry is one thing that is absolutely not free in Hungary. Your health insurance would mean nothing when it comes to dental care, despite of what is written on the National Health Insurance website. However, other specialties are a little bit different. When your illness require you to stay in the state-owned hospital, as your health insurance would direct you to, you would get officially free of charge treatment, except for the medicine and hálapénz. The latter is the tip you should pay to your doctor and nurses to insure you would get better treatment. It depends on how many people would take care of you; and you should be able to count how much you ought to spend on this. Believe me, you would not want to know what would happen if you "forgot" to pay this tribute.