Corruption still ‘widespread’ in medicine

Corruption still 'widespread' in medicine
Doctor. File photo: APA
Transparency International (TI) has criticized Austria for doing too little to target corruption. A report said that “black sheep” were still especially prevalent in the health sector.

Up to three billion euros are being siphoned off through corruption in the medical field, TI Austria said. Some doctors are being paid in cash for doing operations at short notice, and then not declaring it. TI Austria estimated that up to ten per cent of health spending is being wasted because of this.

TI said that whistleblowers who report on corruption need better protection – and should not have to fear any retribution. Last year the Federal Office responsible for fighting corruption received 1,700 tip-offs from whistleblowers, TI Austria CEO Eva Geiblinger said.

Geiblinger also said that TI wants the lobbyist registry to be expanded – to include social insurance, churches, and city municipalities, to help gain transparency about the possible influence of pressure groups.

She added that for the past couple of years Austria has been lagging behind its European neighbours in the international corruption perception index, but that slowly TI could see that some improvements are being made. 

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