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Matthew suggested I´d discuss this …
Honestly I wouldn´t have brought it up, because the German system is so very different from the UK one, so one might think this would be of limited interest to anyone outside Germany – but nevertheless…
It is always necessary to discuss corruption.
In Germany, corruption has always been against the law in hospitals where doctors are employed, and I don´t think it regularly happens there ( of course, one has to be vigilant. I once met a German doctor who was hired specifically to fight corruption in Poland, and when asked what was done to prevent it in Germany, he really couldn´t list much).
However, about half of the approx.. 300.000 German doctors are not employed by anybody but themselves – they take great pride in their “free profession”. Most GPs are independent, and so are most specialists outside hospitals. Recently, a couple of doctors have been accused ( and aquitted ! )of corruption after taking money and expensive gifts from pharmaceutical companies, often in exchange for prescribing their drugs. Justice said it couldn´t be called corruption, because of the “free profession” status, but nevertheless asked for better controls and sanctions by the medical boards ( as Germany is a federal state, we have an abundance of these, with one at the top – this one told “Der Spiegel” magazine that just under 1000 doctors had been suspected of corruption in the last years, and 163 were “ punished” after state prosecutors gave files to the medical board (they didn´t say what the punishment was).
On the other hand, medical boards fight hard for general reputations of doctors. Mine has just given out “ I am not a corrupted doctor” ( “Nicht-korrupter Arzt” for men and “Nicht-korrupte Ärztin” for women). I wonder if this spreads, what patients and companies will think of you when you forget to wear your badge…
Here´s the article Matthew quoted when he mentioned the topic to me : http://m.thelocal.de/society/20130113-47303.htm#.UPPKYWf2-1U.
Do you think corruption is a problem among our noble profession ??