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More than 50 percent of Romanians bribe doctors, medical staff

Over 50 percent of the Romanians are usually offering money or other gifts to all medical staff categories, from doctors and nurses to stretcher bearers, laboratory assistants and even bodyguards, reveals a study conducted by the Health Ministry and the Association for Democracy Implementations.

According to the research, during their last hospital treatment, 37 percent of the respondents gave money or gifts to the doctors, 34 percent to the nurses and 25 percent to nursemaids, while 14 percent admitted they also offered money or presents to stretcher bearers, laboratory assistants or bodyguards.

The study claims that only 10 percent of the bribe cases came at the doctors’ request.

The interviewed persons said the main reasons for offering money or gifts were related firstly to their wish to benefit of close medical consultations (more than 50 percent), but also to their need to reward the medical staff for the services they provided. They also paid to escape queuing or to obtain the tests’ results more quickly or to benefit of hospital admission.

Although they agree this practice should not exist, most of the Romanians consider their health is depending on giving money to the medical staff.

At the same time, more than half of the respondents believe that Romanian doctors are not motivated to practice in the country without being corrupt.

29 percent think the informal payments could be removed by implementing a different insurance health system that should cover the patients’ comfort and most wanted attention. 17 percent believe a solution would be sanctioning the medical staff and 14 percent mentioned the direct payment (co-payment) as a more viable solution.

About Alina Grigoras Butu