Almost four in 10 Greeks admitted to paying doctors an under-the-table fee, a study by the universities of Thessaloniki (Aristotle) and Piraeus has found.
The study was conducted in Thessaloniki in 2012 on a sample of 300 people who had recently been admitted to a public hospital for treatment. It found that 39 percent paid their doctor in order to be admitted to the hospital faster, to reduce the amount of time they had to wait for treatment or because the doctor demanded an under-the-table fee for his or her services.
The survey also revealed that just 3 percent of the doctors in question refused to accept money and 13 percent of respondents refused to pay up when asked by the doctor.
More evidence of shady practices emerged from the study’s focus on private healthcare, where it found that only 8 percent of respondents received a receipt for a medical visit to a private doctor’s office without having to ask for it. In contrast, 32 percent of respondents admitted they asked the doctor not to issue a receipt but to give them a discount instead, while 35 percent said they asked for a receipt without caring whether or not doing so would increase the cost of their consultation.
It is estimated that such practices cost the state an average of 150 million euros a year in lost revenues.