Hungary, Republic of
István Kopcsó MD, PhD
Róbert Károly krt. 44.
Basic Task of the Military Medical Service
The HDF Medical Centre is a unique organization not only in the Hungarian Defence Forces but also amongst the medical institutions in Hungary. Under the Ministry of Defence with the professional direction of the ministry responsible for public health, directly subordinated to the Chief of Hungarian Defence Forces, it fulfils the responsibilities in the field of military medicine arising from national defence, NATO and international agreements, planning and exercising control over the execution of complex medical tasks in collective defence, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
As the only medical organization of the HDF, its responsibility includes professional control and oversight of aptitude and occupational exams and tests for personnel of the Ministry of Defence and the Hungarian Defence Forces. Other responsibilities include executing the public health service and epidemic safety tasks for the MoD and HDF personnel, exercising authorized oversight of public health and epidemiological issues in the Hungarian Defence Forces and performing complex hygiene-related duties in the HDF. The HDF Medical Centre coordinates the professional psychological activities in the HDF, conducts accreditation procedures for further vocational training at the units, provides psychological training for personnel nominated for missions and assisting them during their sustained operations and re-adaptation. It carries out aptitude tests and assessment in procedures of the second instance for those appealing against aptitude and review decisions of the first instance.
As part of the public medical services in Hungary, the HDF Medical Centre also provides with medical and health care support to a significant portion of the population in and around the capital.
On 1 March 2021, the Hungarian Defence Forces Commandariat Chief Medical Headquarters was dissolved and merged into the HDF Medical Centre. The Commander has a dual function: in addition to his duties as commander of the institution, he is also the Surgeon General of the Hungarian Defence Forces.
As a strategic level organisation, the headquarters of the Chief Medical Headquarters have been integrated into the HDF Medical Centre under the direct subordination of the Deputy Commander (Deputy Surgeon General of the Hungarian Defence Forces).
At the same time, the organisation and staff of the medical services of the military units were integrated into the HDF Medical Centre. Their tasks will continue to be carried out locally in the interests of the respective military formations. Following the integration, the HDF Medical Centre has become the largest military organisation in the Hungarian Defence Forces, with almost 40 sites.
The HDF Medical Centre has a personnel of almost 4300, staffed by around 1200 service personnel and 3100 civilian personnel and provides health care to the entitled military and civilian populiation.
In order to unify the Hungarian Military Medicine, the Military Hospital – State Health Centre and the Hungarian Defence Forces Dr. Radó György Military Medical Centre was integrated, and a newly established structure of an element, the Hungarian Defence Forces Military Hospital started its work on 15th November 2011. This military-medical rationalization, on the one hand, was part of the efforts of the Minister of Defence, on the other hand, plays an important role in the organization process that was started in the public health in 2011.
Hospital pillar of the HDF Medical Centre (Military Hospital)
Service personnel and civilians work side by side as medical, dental and allied health care professionals and with other personnel with the relevant business and technical skills. The range of services provided by the HDF Medical Centre includes primary health care, dental care, rehabilitation, occupational medicine, community mental health care and specialist medical care.
Main tasks of the Military Hospital:
- Medical Treatment of the civilian population
- Trauma care of the north part of Budapest
- Providing treatment for the civilian population on regional basis
- Outpatient and in-patient care for the personnel of the military, police and
- railway workers
- Medical, prevention and troop level tasks
- Medical and technical support of the HDF missions
- Research and postgraduate training
- Providing medical personnel for the HDF ROLE-2 capability
Being a priority hospital, it has become one of the key health care institutions in Hungary that specializes in all medical disciplines except paediatrics and inpatient pulmonology. Basically, the core mission of the institute is the treatment of the Hungarian military personnel as well as the claimants of the HDF Medical Centre – State Health Centre’s predecessor institutes, so the HDF Medical Centre offers outpatient and inpatient care for the personnel of the Ministry of Interiorv (policemen, firefighters, disaster relief forces, custom , the HDF and State Railway and their family members, while it also carries out special aptitude tests for the HDF and provides medical support for the HDF missions. The hospital plays a significant role in providing treatment for the civilian population (more than 1,5 million people) on a regional basis (North-middle Hungary).
The HDF Medical Centre has been chosen by the medical government as one of the hospitals which are responsible for one region. The doctors of the HDF Medical Centre administer a range of special treatments. One of the strengths in the special character of the institution is the comprehensive traumatology, neurotraumatology and burns therapy, which is a priority in the HDF and also in disaster medicine. As one of the most important emergency care centres in Hungary, the HDF Medical Centre plays a key role in providing treatment for acute cardiac arrests and strokes. In addition to outpatient and inpatient therapy, the institute conducts high-level educational activity and scientific research. The chronic and rehabilitation therapy is provided at five extramural institutions around the country.
- MAIN HQ: HDF Medical Centre, Military Hospital No.1. Róbert Károly bld., Budapest
- Military Hospital No. 2 Podmaniczky str., Budapest
- Rehabilitation and Chronic Treatment, Budapest
- Rehabilitation Institute for Locomotor Diseases, Hévíz
- Rehabilitation Institute, Hévíz
- Cardiological Rehabilitation Institute, Balatonfüred
- Institute of Aviation Medicine, Military Fitness and Research, Kecskemét
- Institute for Disease Control and Scientific Research, Budapest
- Medical Training Base, Budapest
- Institute for Unit and Occupational Health
Institute of Aviation Medicine, Military Fitness and Research – Kecskemét
The Institute is responsible for conducting activity in the field of aviation medicine, military aptitude tests, outpatient surgery hours and scientific research projects. It performs aviation aptitude tests for civilian pilots, pilot candidates, ground crews (technicians, air controllers), paratroops, divers and hang-gliders. The Aviation Medicine Research Section conducts scientific research in close cooperation with the Aviation and Space Medicine Department of the Szeged University of Science. The Institute plays a key role in the support for astronaut selection and space medicine.
Institute for Disease Control and Scientific Research – Budapest
The Institute’s Public Health and Epidemiology Department deals with investigation of infecious diseases, epidemiological intelligence, seasonal flu and COVID-19 surveillance and provides public health and epidemiological training for military personnel going on mission.
As part of the Institure, the Scientific Library’s task is to ensure scientific information for research and organizationally the editorial board of Honvédorvos, the Hungarian special journal for military and disaster medicine belongs to the Library.
The Department of Immunization’s main task is the previous active immunization of home and in-theatre military personnel, according to the current field specific public health and epidemiological situation.
The Institute conducts basic and applied research into chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons and medical CBRN protection in the field of biomedical science. It applies and broadens the specialist knowledge and develops the applied research methods. It is in charge of surveying the patterns related to the use of drugs and psychotropic chemicals and also of conducting regular screenings for the HDF service personnel.
The other responsibilities of the Institute include the development of biodosimetry methods and the performance of radiation and public health tests. One of the key tasks is the epidemic risk evaluation of operational fields.
The Mobile Biological Laboratory performs field epidemiological and biodefence laboratory tasks and the development of the necessary methodologies.
Medical Training Base – Budapest
The Base runs 23 different courses, training and certification programs covering the planning and implementation of basic-level and advanced (MOS) medical training programs for the professional and contract personnel as well as for the civil servants. Furthermore, the Base is responsible for running medical training and certification courses for the HDF troops declared for crisis management and peacekeeping operations and certifying the medical specialists of the HDF. The medical training courses are aimed at providing basic and MOS training for the personnel and providing the personnel preparing for some special MOS (rescue divers, EOD troops) with special medical training. The base offers special training to the professional and contract personnel specializing in medical MOS as well as medical training for the units and staff officers nominated for NATO- and EU-led response and stand-by forces and missions abroad.
Institute for Unit and Occupational Health Care
The Institute provides basic and occupational health care for all personnel working at the sites of the HDF Medical Centre and carries out periodic or extraordinary fitness-for-duty examinations, screenings, seasonal or job-related vaccinations. If necessary, ad hoc reviews are also carried out when required by changes in the workers’ job or health condition.
As an accredited health training centre, the Institute is an integral part of national residency training. Occupational health screening of health professionals is also carried out on request.
Following the integration on 1 March 2021, 24 new sites were added to the HDF Medical Centre’s organisation, taking over the health care staff and their responsibilities of some military organisations of the Hungarian Defence Forces. The staff of the sites are responsible for and carry out the basic medical, occupational health and dental care of the personnel serving in garrisons or objects.
The personnel of HDF Medical Centre continuously takes part in international missions and military exercises, such as Europian Union Force (EUFOR) Operation Althea, Kosovo Force (KFOR), United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and HDF Iraq Training Support Contingent.
Other Special Aspects
The HDF Medical Centre has actively taken part in the COVID-19 treatment and management not only in the hospitalisation but also in the vaccination of the population. Mobile vaccination stations (vaccination buses, up to 55 stacioner vaccination points) are presented in several areas of Hungary in order to provide vaccination to the widest scale of the inhabitants (till 1 April 2022 more than 400 000 vaccines were provided to the Hungarian population via vaccination buses).