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According to the Health Act, in case of an emergency or unbearable pain, everyone is entitled for getting emergency medical care in Hungary, regardless of their nationality or social security coverage. Emergency services are available for everyone in order to get immediate medical attention, medication for relieving their pain and alleviating their agony, so that permanent health damage would not develop.


In case of emergency, of which definition is declared by the 52/2006. (XII.28.) Order by the Ministry of Health, immediate medical care is available without a referral.


Conditions that need emergency medical care:


  • acute onset of
    • trauma;
    • intoxication;
    • arrhythmia, cardiovascular disfunction;
    • cerebral circulatory disorder;
    • heat-stroke;
    • electric shock;
    • accident in the water;
    • acute abdominal catastrophe, etc.
  • fulminant course (minutes – hours);
  • state progression is extremely fast.


Symptoms of critical illnesses may be the followings:


  • tremendous pain;
  • abundant bleeding;
  • dyspnea, shortness of breath;
  • very weak or very fast, irregular pulse;
  • unappeasable, high fever;
  • severe anemia or cyanosis;
  • unconsciousness or disturbed consciousness;
  • severe vomiting;
  • convulsion;
  • progressive paresis.


The activities of emergency medical care

Emergency medical care is a comprehensive form of medicine with a universal approach. It encompasses all the services of the health care system that are concerned with providing urgent care for patients who experience acute onset of symptoms or pain, and that can be accessed by telephone or in-person.


The levels of emergency medical care

In Hungary, the levels of the emergency medical care are the followings.


  • medical care on the scene of an emergency:
    • giving first aid;
    • handling acute, life-threatening situations;
    • starting CPR;
    • paramedic care.
  • paramedic services:
    • stabilization;
    • transfer for definitive care.
  • GP service, GP on-call service;
  • service at a health care facility (emergency department).


The purpose of emergency medical care

The purpose of emergency medical care is to provide equal opportunities for patients in every part of the country regarding onset-to-door times and equal quality of emergency medical services.


In the emergency departments, medical service is not provided on the first-come-first-serve rule, but a universal emergency classification algorithm is used, the so-called “triage” (ˈtriːɑːʒ). In Hungary, the Hungarian Triage System defines the time that can elapse until the patient gets medical care. This time can vary from 5 minutes to 2 hours depending on the patient’s condition and the severity of the illness.  


According to the classification (according to urgency), medical care must be provided:


  • resuscitation: immediately;
  • emergency: within 15 minutes;
  • urgent: within 30 minutes;
  • acute: within 60 minutes;
  • non-urgent: within 120 minutes.


The emergency service encompasses the medical treatment from the patient’s stabilization to providing primary treatment.


Depending on their condition, patients are either discharged from the emergency department or transferred to an inpatient- and/or directed to an outpatient department for further definitive treatment.


You can help your treating physician’s work if you provide them with the list of your current medications, allergies and history of diseases and previous hospitalizations.  


When to go to the emergency department?

In case of urgency, immediate action to provide help is everyone’s allegiance regardless of time and geographic location!


The universal emergency call number is 112 – by dialing this number, you can call for the paramedics in case of emergency.


Everyone is legally obliged to call an ambulance and start giving first aid if a person nearby needs help or emergency medical care. First aid must be given by the best of the helpers’ knowledge under the given circumstances with the given equipment.


Early recognition and fast action can save lives.


When not to go to the emergency department?

Do not go to the emergency department if you experience symptoms that are not acute and that may have been persisting for days without any worsening. Visit your GP or an outpatient department instead.  


Enlisting the emergency medical services with non-acute conditions – including paramedic services, on-call services and emergency departments – may significantly prolong the waiting hours for the services. For this reason, it is possible that the waiting hours are longer at the emergency department that at the GP’s office or at the outpatient department.


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