Oddly Enough

Have you heard? Hospitals to ban gossiping

BELGRADE (Reuters) - A ban on grumpiness, gossiping, mini-skirts and rudeness is what the doctor orders to improve patient care in Serbia’s hospitals, according to new rules issued by the country’s Health Ministry.

The rules, posted on the ministry’s Web site, say staff are not allowed to criticize their hospital or their superiors, and should not accept gifts for their services.

Hospital staff are often bribed with cash or gifts for attention or better treatment.

“There needs to be ground rules for decency,” a ministry spokesman said.

Serbia’s public health system crumbled during the conflicts of the 1990s, with patients’ relatives having to provide everything from bandages and antibiotics to food.

Funding improved as stability returned but bribery, often involving hundreds of euros, is still widespread.

Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; editing by Ellie Tzortzi and Andrew Dobbie