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Poland Healthcare

Despite the political and economic reforms that have swept Eastern Europe in the past 5 years, there has been little change in Poland's healthcare system. The Ministry of Health & Social Welfare has targeted preventive care as a priority, yet the enactment of legislation to meet this goal has been slow. The process of reform has been hindered by political stagnation, economic crisis, and a lack of delineation of responsibility for implementing the reforms. Despite the delays in reform, recent developments indicate that a realistic, sustainable restructuring of the health care system is possible, with a focus on preventive services. Recent proposals for change have centred on applying national goals to limited geographic areas, with both local and international support. Regional pilot projects to restructure healthcare delivery at a community level, local health education and disease prevention initiatives, and a national training program for primary care and family physicians and nurses are being planned. Through regionalisation, an increase in responsibility for both the physician and the patient, and redefinition of primary healthcare and the role of family physicians, isolated local movements and pilot projects have shown promise in achieving these goals, even under the current budgetary constraints.

Poland’s healthcare is based on a general health insurance system. Subsidised health services are provided to Polish residents that are covered by the general health insurance. This can be either on a compulsory or a voluntary basis.

The Polish healthcare system is state-financed through the National Health Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia, NFZ), to which everyone working in Poland is required to contribute. Employee contributions are deducted direct from salaries by employers, while the self-employed are required to make their own contributions direct to the NFZ. In 2005 contributions were 8.5 % of salary, less social insurance payments. If you are self-employed, social contributions are not automatically deducted from your bank account. You will have to pay them on your own, every month. If you start a business in Poland, you can benefit from reduced social contribution rates for the first 24 months. The monthly minimum rate will then be 300 PLN instead of 900 PLN.

People who are covered by the national health insurance system, and their dependents, are entitled to free primary healthcare, specialist out-patient care, hospital treatment, dental treatment and ambulance transport. They are required to present their medical insurance card when seeking treatment. All EU nationals visiting Poland who hold an E-111 form are also provided with free healthcare.

Standards of medical care are good in Poland. Most specialist forms of healthcare are available in the larger cities. It is acceptable to approach specialists direct without a GP referral. For foreign nationals not covered by the national insurance scheme, immediate cash payment may be required by some doctors.

There are many private institutions offering healthcare in Poland as well as a wide range of specialised doctors, especially in bigger cities. You can find almost all specialities and clinics that offer special treatments and operations. Note that costs will be significantly higher than in the public sector.




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