THE MEDICAL Trade Unions Association (LOZ) is launching an anti-corruption campaign with the slogan: “Thanks, I don't accept bribes”, the TASR newswire learned at a LOZ press conference on Monday, August 13.
LOZ wants to persuade as many doctors as possible to wear badges with the aforementioned slogan on their lapels so that they can publicly declare their opposition to bribes. Patients will be able to find out on the internet whether their doctor is participating in the campaign or not. LOZ has also asked representatives of the Interior Ministry to set up an anti-corruption telephone line through which people can complain about doctors who try to elicit bribes. Patients will also be given advice on how to behave when they find themselves in such a situation.
Although medical trade unionists have launched a campaign against bribery, they have not specified whether the term should also be used to include a box of chocolates or a bottle of alcohol. “We do not want to solve nuances,” Anton Chromík, a lawyer of the Medical Trade Unions Association (LOZ), told the Sme daily. Therefore they are not preparing directives for doctors who will wear the badge, Sme wrote in its Wednesday, August 15, issue. Most of the doctors approached by Sme claimed to have received boxes of chocolate, flowers or a bottle of alcohol or cognac after a quality treatment as a display of thanks.
“I would not consider it a bribe,” doctor and lawyer Peter Kováč said, as quoted by Sme. A hospital in Čadca has a code of ethics for these situations that permits presents up to €20 in value.
Most people of those approached by the Sme daily admitted to having given a bribe to doctors, either before a surgery (most often a child-birth), or afterwards. Their bribe was never refused or commented upon, they say. But there are also those asked who have never considered giving a bribe to a doctor.