Corruption is a major challenge in health care systems across the European Union (EU), where it manifests most visibly as informal payments from patients to providers. In what is believed to be the first study to examine trends in informal payments across the twenty-eight EU states between 2013 and 2019 in relation to changes in public health care expenditure, Giulia Dallera and coauthors from Imperial College London analyzed representative data from Eurobarometer surveys, which included survey responses from more than 80,000 EU citizens. They found that the prevalence of informal payments in EU health care systems increased during those years, but perception of corruption decreased, with significant differences between countries. They also found that higher public health care expenditure was associated with fewer informal payments; however, this relationship became less clear throughout the study period. The authors conclude that their findings can inform further research to investigate drivers of informal payments at the health systems level and to understand the directionality of the relationship between informal payments and public health care expenditure. Their findings also point toward the need to couple public health care investments across EU member states with measures to strengthen health systems to effectively confront corruption.
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Corruption In Health Care Systems: Trends In Informal Payments Across Twenty-Eight EU Countries, 2013–19
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