Informal payments from patients

Essentially a bribe from a patient to a healthcare professional, these payments can be cash or any other type of gift. These inducements can be given to receive services that should be free such as seeing a doctor and receiving drugs, as well as getting better services or preferential treatment.

In countries experiencing overcrowding and high demand for services, patients may be more likely to make informal payments. In cultures where gift giving is widespread, healthcare workers may not demand additional payment but patients may feel it is obligatory.

In a number of transitioning economies informal payments are widespread, partly because universal healthcare is offered but health funds are low. However, it is difficult to make generalisations about where informal payments are likely to be prevalent, due to difficulties in measuring unofficial payments. By their nature, no record of the payment is made and healthcare providers may be unwilling to discuss them.