Doctor bribery still remains an incurable disease for the Greek National Health System. The issue came up once again after a new case was detected on Thursday, July 10, at Evangelismos hospital in Athens, where a doctor was arrested for bribery and attempted extortion, after requesting 1,500 euros from a patient in order to perform heart surgery.
According to data from the Internal Affairs Service of the Greek Police, based on arrests of doctors being bribed from 2011 until now, the bribery rates range from 300 to 2,000 euros. In Greek lay terms, this is the infamous “fakelaki” (small envelope), a word coming from the envelope containing the bribe money that the patient gives to the doctor.
According to an article by Greek newspaper “Ta Nea,” prices vary depending on the region. For example, a bribe for gynecological surgeries amounts to 300 euros in Filiates while it reaches 500 euros in Athens, and an orthopedic surgery costing 400 euros in Thessaloniki, Greece, goes up to 600 euros in Athens.
The article is based on complaints filed against doctors, accusing them of bribery, which means that patients are required to pay a doctor under the table in order to receive surgery or bypass a waiting list. Furthermore, the article reveals that due to the economic crisis, doctors are now making arrangements with the patients, like requesting a part of the bribery in advance and ask for the rest of the payment after the surgery.
The general price list for doctor bribery:
Gynecological surgery: 500 euros
Orthopedic surgery: 300 euros
Heart surgery: 500 euros
Vascular Surgery: 650 euros
Caesarean section: 1,300 euros
ENT Surgery: 2,000 euros
And some regional pricing information:
Eye surgery (Aetolia-Acarnania) 150 euros
Cataract surgery (Florina) 200 euros
ENT surgery for children (Athens) 400 euros
Adenoid surgery (Athens) 500 euros (out of which 200 euros are given to the anesthesiologist)
Cardiac surgery (Athens) 1,500 euros
However, the information provided by the Greek Police does not reflect the situation in hospitals and the bribery that doctors expect from their patients, since a lot of the victims do not report the incidents to the police and opt to pay the bribery instead. This happens because most patients are afraid that they won’t receive proper medical care in case they report the doctor. So they usually pay the bribe and then report the incident, without any substantial proof.