Doctors’ fight ‘fakelaki’ habit

The Federation of Hospital Doctors’ Unions (OENGE) has embraced a campaign launched by a small hospital in the Peloponnese over the summer against the practice of doctors demanding under-the-table payments for treatment. «We want to show that there is a healthy proportion of doctors who do not welcome this kind of transaction,» said OENGE president Dimitris Varnavas, referring to the payments widely known as «fakelakia» (small envelopes). Varnavas’s union is now promoting the extension to other hospitals of the initiative, which was launched in July at Sparta’s General Hospital. Posters were put up on hospital walls saying: «If you’re asked for a fakelaki, give an empty one! Help curb corruption. Play no part in it.» The head of the union of doctors in the broader region of Laconia said her members had always opposed the illicit but widespread use of fakelakia. «We decided to take one step further, to put our objections into action,» said Chrysa Dorovitsa.