His will to impose tougher penalties for offenses related to the health sector announced earlier today Greek Health Minister Makis Voridis, noting that instances of patients’ blackmailing or doctors’ bribery, which are currently categorized as misdemeanors, will be treated as crimes in the future. This means that any possible offense will carry heavier penalties for those found guilty.
Voridis submitted a blueprint for the crackdown to former Supreme Court prosecutor Ioannis Tentes, who holds the position of anti-corruption coordinator since last year. According to the plan, there will also be changes to the disciplinary councils, which will have larger judicial functionality in the future, in order to achieve greater transparency. On the contrary, the health sector officials’ responsibilities will be limited. In addition, the Ministry’s plan foresees the introduction of an electronic booking system for surgery, in an attempt to tackle “under the table” payments and doctors’ bribery. This was a usual practice followed by both doctors and patients in order to gain priority and avoid delays in their cases.
Last month, speaking to the Greek newspaper “Kathimerini,” General Inspector of Public Administration Leandros Rakintzis said that the Central Disciplinary Council (CDC) of the National Healthcare System (ESY) seldom punishes public doctors for offenses. “I have found serious delays in the issuing of decisions by the council. More than 60 cases are in danger of not being heard due to the statute of limitations, while quite a few of the decisions need to be appealed,” he underlined.