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Defence service launches media campaign against gratuities in health care

The National Defence Service (NVSZ) has launched a media campaign to eliminate gratuity payments from Hungarian health care, the services' officials said on Friday.

Under a law taking effect on January 1 in 2021, giving and accepting gratuities is a crime, but the practice has not yet disappeared from the Hungarian health-care system, the spokeswoman for NVSZ told a press conference.

Not having the powers of an authority, NVSZ only reported and initiated an investigation into 19 cases last year alone, Judit Pap said, adding that both a doctor and a patient faced penalties. She noted cases in which an investigation was launched against a cardiologist for 67 instances and another investigation launched against an oncologist for taking a gratuity from a patient for an otherwise free chemotherapy treatment.

According to NVSZ’s press material, the service has initiated investigation against 250 health-care workers in 105 cases since 2021.

The project has been financed with 473 million forints (EUR 1.2m) from domestic sources and with EU support, NVSZ said.

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