Doctors Launch “I don’t take bribes” Campaign

Doctors in Slovakia are trying to shrug off the bad reputation they have for taking bribes, according to a new plan by the doctors trade union LOZ.

Antolska Hospital, Bratislava (c) Kelovy

The special campaign aptly called ‘No thanks, I don’t take bribes” was announced earlier this week, with one of the ideas being to get doctors to wear a badge saying they don’t accept bribes.

This has also raised the question over what a bribe is, however. Does it include the coffee, chocolates and alcohol so readily bestowed on doctors by grateful patients, for instance?

Even the trade union’s lawyer Anton Chromik is cited by SME daily as saying although they don’t want to encourage people to give doctors these kinds of gifts, accepting a box of chocolates or flowers is not a problem.



  1. EXPAT – I would refer your problems with getting treatment for your daughter to your embassy.

    MAT – the village idiot should be ignored, he just posts tripe to get into an arguement and make insults.
    I apparently confused an “anti bribe” fee with a bribe – how remiss of me.
    I wouldn’t let a doctor operate on me or anyone else – only surgeons should perform surgery.
    My “tired” specialist gets a new lease of life and energy if you pay him Euro 70.00?
    The waiting list – First specialist can’t fit my wife in till April next year ( Pay a bung get seen immediatly – no waiting?) the second specialist – walk straight in no problem. The only waiting here is for the first doctor to finish counting his slush fund.
    On the matter of what we pay – Please try and get a list of what is or is not covered by your insurance – I,ve tried here and have been met with bemused looks and confusion.

  2. Matt – I believe some doctors also have to perform operations, be on duties in case of emergency and continue their education.
    I know I wouldn’t want a tired doctor to perform an operation on me. In this case “the less is more”.
    I never said patients should pay more money. I just pointed out Dave C.’s mistake.

    Expat – If were you I wouldn’t use as an example for Health care system in the USA. I am sure there is a way how to make the Alergy specialist in Bratislava see your daughter. And you can keep your 50EUR. Try harder.

  3. Doctor’s office hours are split here between their personal preactices and Hospital duties, so where does that leave the poeple that are sick and need treatment or to see their doctor on the days or hours the office is closed? My personal practicioner in the States never was forced to have duty at a hospital, and I don’t think most doctors working in hospitals have their own practices in the States.

    This counrty is too confusing as to health care and treatment. Even if you are given a prescription to see a specialist, you can still be forced to not be see if you don’t have permanent residency in that area, which is the case for my family. We can’t get my daughter in to see a specialist for her allergies in Bratislava as the specialist only takes resident patients. What? This is a failed system and makes me angry to think that if I reached into my pocket and showed a 50 they would probably have no problem to see my child. Any doctor that takes any money to see a patient fast, “front of queue bribe” should be hit with fines for bribery and malpractice. Healthcare is not free in this country, we all pay out of our pay cheque and with our ever rising cost of health insurances, which will soon be all one messed up system.

  4. The point that Losgar doesn’t understand that we already pay for health insurance the doctor should only ask us directly for the cost of the treatment that is not covered by our insurance. Why should people have to pay an additional fee in order to get a referral to a specialist. In my opinion it is clearly a case of malpractice. It is the doctors responsibility ensure his patients well being and safety. They are ethically bound to treat their patient to the best of their abilities not fleece them for more money. I guess the doctors don’t take the Hippocratic Oath here.

    As for waiting in a long line to see the doctor that problem can be easily remedied by the doctors having longer office hours and also making the patient schedule an appointment like they do in most civilized countries.

  5. It’s just a guess, I may be wrong, but if doctors worked a reasonable number of hours a week instead of the twelve the first chancer I mentioned gets away with, then there would be no long waiting lists and no need for people to pay to jump the queue. Its quite obvious the the medics are on a nice little earner here – limit the number of patients they see and play on peoples health concerns to line their pockets. In most civilised countries this would be classed as malpractice and the offenders struck off – but not here in rip off Slowvakia. Downwards, ever downwards!

  6. It seems our resident expert on everything Slovak is wrong yet again. My wife’s case is urgent – her doctor was going to admit her directly to hospital, fortunately another specialist agreed to take her case. He asked for no addition payment and his comments were quite enlightening.
    He was disgusted that the previous doctor had expected a “backhander” and expressed his disgust that so many of his colleagues are holding patients to ransom. ” Their greed is destroying the health service”. The doctor is in his mid fifties, a product of the communist regime and he is sad about the state of affairs in the medical profession. He is so fed up that he is thinking of moving to the UK or Scandinavia – ” Where doctors still have morals and put the people, not their bank accounts, first”. He was shocked that we had come to live in the Sk when many of the brightest are leaving the country in droves. “Merciar, Fico and the rest of the politicians have destroyed our dreams, nothing works anymore. Soon there will only be the stupid left here, the sheep, who believe all the lies.”
    A geniune, nice guy. Very good at his job but has had enough of the corruption and graft – ” I could tell you to report the other doctor but I know him and his friends in high places, they are all the same and protect each other – it would be no use”

    1. Firstly I don’t have the urge to comment under every article. Look at yourself. You keep crapping around like tomorrow should never come.

      Sorry about your wife! I hope she will be fine!

      Don’t get angry everytime I correct you. You were clearly wrong about the “bribe”. You confused an “anti-bribe” fee with a bribe fee. It’s like calling white black. If you can’t admit you were wrong there you will never admit anything.
      Like many times before. Actually I don’t remember when was the last time you posted something interesting.

      Last thing: Stop being cheap. I would never hesitate to pay for my wife’s health much more money then 70EUR.
      You play a rich man but when it comes to money you act worse then an unemployed freshly graduated student.

  7. Bad news for LOZ – my dear wife was refered to a specialist yesterday. He wasn’t in his surgery ( he works three alternate mornings 9am – 1pm ) but his receptionist confirmed that she could see him – next April! OR if she paid Euro 70.00 she could see him straight away.
    Now the doctor can honestly claim to not demanding a bribe because his expendable receptionist is doing his dirty work for him.

    1. You are wrong. It’s not a bribe. It must be a fee for “cutting in the line”. Your wife should know it.
      In my opinion this fees help to fight corruption as everybody has the same options.

      The good news is that your wife is not in danger and can wait. Otherwise your wife’s general doctor would write for the specialist an urgent note and then she would be taken care of the earliest and without the fee.

      Seems like the specialist is too busy. I know people wait for operations sometimes years, which is problem in nearly all countries in the world, but for a check-up 7 months don’t sound right..

  8. This is a Slovak habit , accepted as a habit ….it will never change because joe soap public Slovaks do not see this a wrong , it is just a traditional habit .

  9. Whilst I applaud the efforts of the medical profession in introducing this scheme I don’t think wearing a badge will convince many patients that their doctor is straight. I wear an Antartic Survey tee-shirt, it doesn’t mean I’ve been there. A more robust approach, say striking doctors off for accepting bribes, would be a more acceptable scheme. Then there is the grey area of what constitutes a bribe, slipping the doctor a bung for a sick note quite clearly is naughty, paying to queue jump is common – is that not a bribe. Also payments in kind or gifts – where is the line drawn on these? A bunch of flowers or some chocs OK but what about the “all expenses” trips to health spas, skiing breaks etc.
    The scheme is a good start but doctors, like all professions, should have a clear code of standards of conduct, a suitable range of penalties for those who break the code and have the power to apply those penalties without the interference of the judiciary. Some may question my proposal that self regulation of the professions is the “best cure” and I understand that many may feel that SK society is not equiped to undertake such a system of control but clearly something must be done to improve the public confidence in, and perception of, the professional services. Successive govts. have failed to address this problem and it is unlikely that the present or future govts will do any better, so I say give the professionals the powers to “police” themselves.

  10. Is there any real point in commenting when it can take days for a comment to be moderated ?

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