Desislava Nikolova, journalist for the Capital newspaper, asked questions to 10 major hospitals in Bulgaria about their pay policies, clinical pathways and other hospital activities in which their board members were involved.
Of the 10 major hospitals in the country, only 3 provided complete information: the University Hospital "St. George" Plovdiv, the University Hospital "St. Ivan Rilski" Sofia and the National Hematological Hospital.
With the support of AIP, the journalist filed lawsuits against the refusals of 4 of the hospitals: the Pirogov Hospital, the Aleksandrovska Hospital, the St. Marina Hospital - Varna and the Dr. Georgi Strensky Hospital Pleven. In the various refusals, it is argued that the requested information constitutes protected personal data of doctors and board members, that the information is not public, that the public cannot form an opinion about the activity of the hospitals from the information.
The court overturned the refusals, holding that the information was public and, moreover, “the size of salaries in the medical institutions financed by the NHIF budget is undeniably relevant to the public life in the country.”
After the cases were won, the hospitals provided the requested information.
The four cases won in the health sector create a precedent and emphasize that openness and transparency are also needed in this sphere of public life.
More on the topic in Bulgarian: please follow the link.
The case is supported by Access to Information Programme under a project "Legal Help to Access to Information Cases", funded by German Marshal Fund of the US.