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Romania to legalize bribe for docs, will call it gifts

Staff writer |
Romania is moving toward legalizing a widespread practice in many Eastern European countries, where medical staff is underpaid and quality can be dodgy: bribes for better service.

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The government is expected to introduce criteria by which informal payments patients make to doctors, nurses and other public health workers, would be legal. These payments are widespread in the poorly funded Romanian health care system, Politico reports.

These couldn’t be demanded by the medical staff, would have to be given after the health service is performed and would have to be declared to be taxed. The Romanian government prefers to call these gifts given out of gratitude rather than bribes or tips for better patient care. Doctors’ groups are split about the proposal.

The government is right to introduce rules for a widespread practice, which will not disappear as long as the Romanian health system is underfunded, Gheorghe Borcean, president of the Romanian College of Physicians, told POLITICO.

“When doctors in Romania will get a salary proportional to the value of their work, they won’t need any more gifts,” he said.

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