With the GDC being such a great governing and regulating body, many patients from the UK feel reluctant to leave, because of fears of laxer regulation, some even fear a lack of any sort of regulations whatsoever. I intend to discuss a little bit the regulatory bodies and their work in Budapest, the number one destination for dental tourism in the world. By providing insight into how the regulations work, I intend to dispel the fears that people may have of lax or inadequate regulations being present.
The governing body of dentists in Hungary is the dental branch of the MOK (Magyar Orvosi Kamara, or Chamber of Hungarian Dentists). They act basically as the Hungarian version of the GDC, they regulate what skills a dentist has to have to be considered a dentist, also, they provide legal protection in case of a libel, and provide oversight in rulings or legal actions involving their craft, and provide indemnity insurance. In this, they also share a little bit of the responsibilities of the DDU (Dental Defense Union) in Britain.
A key thing to note in this is that the MOK does not provide screenings or quality control of clinics. The MOK is a chamber in which membership is a privilege, and dentists have to get their clinics certified by government run quality and health regulatory bodies. Without the approval of these agencies, the clinic cannot become certified by the MOK. I would now like to say a few words about the health care and quality control agencies themselves.
The ÁNTSZ and the OEP
The ÁNTSZ (Állami Népegészégügyi és Tisztiorvosi Szolgálat) is the leading health regulatory body in Hungary. They are the fine folks who test food at a restaurant, make sure that health and safety standards are met at workplaces, in public offices, and most importantly, in medical facilities, be they private or public. For a medical facility to operate in Hungary, they need to be on par with the expectations of the ÁNTSZ, and nothing less can be offered under the mantel of health care. The OEP (Országos Egészségügyi Pénztár) is the national health care treasury, basically the financial branch of the government medical giant. They regulate the financial workings of all clinics of any sort in Hungary.
I know that at first glance this must seem like a staggering amount of bureaucracy, and indeed it is, but in post-Soviet countries, this is quite normal. As far as the patient is concerned, however, this is background information. Just look for the seal of approval of the MOK, the Hungarian GDC. If they have it, that means that they have passed and continue to pass both ÁNTSZ and OEP regulations consistently, meaning they uphold the standards that are required to operate a clinic in Hungary.