“Gratuity money” for doctors could be eliminated within 4 years, according to doctors union president

March 17, 2017

A survey conducted by health-care research firm Szinapszis Kft. has found that the giving and accepting of so-called gratuity money – unauthorized rewards given to doctors and nurses in exchange for preferential medical care – is considered to be a crime by 80 percent of Hungarians.

In an interview on state television station TV2, president of the Residents and Medical Specialists Union Tamás Dénes said the practice of giving gratuity money could be eliminated within four years in Hungary, but emphasized the need for an increase in doctors’ wages first. Dénes added that a clear legal system must also be established for gratuities to help combat the practice.

Respondents of the survey agreed with Dénes that raised salaries would be essential to ending medical gratuities. The survey statement read: “If basic wage increases reached a level indicated by me, then I would consider it proper for the giving and receiving of ‘gratuity money’ – in all its forms – to be qualified as corruption and therefore punishable by law.”

53 percent of respondents completely agreed with the statement, and 27 percent mostly agreed. Interestingly, that number was even higher among doctors, 58 percent of whom completely agreed and 24 percent of whom rather agreed.