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Polish health care system, my experience.


dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
13 Aug 2009 /  #1
Day 1

Well unfortunately last night I had my first experience with hooligans in Krakow being on the wrong end of the stick. As I was drunkenly staggering back to my flat. At a point on my street I was stopped by two guys who asked for a cigarette. Me being in my stupid state replied "nie mam" and walked on. This turned out to be my mistake, as I forgot I was smoking at the time. From what I can recall of what happened next, there was a little fight, which ended after some time when I had the first knuckle dragger on the ground. I made the mistake of forgetting he had a friend with him, who promptly gave me a rugby style boot to the jaw, the rest is history, and this can happen in any city so I'm not having a go at Poland.

So today I woke up with no wallet and what I thought was a dislocated jaw and after taking care of some business, Me, Cardno, and my Polish flatmate went on the look for a hospital which has an A&E department. Now stupid David doesn't have Health Insurance...

First hospital we went to told us that they didn't have the proper doctor who could treat me.

We went to the second hospital, and had a lengthy conversation with the woman behind the reception, who was very pleasant, but informed us they had no doctor that could help unless I was either willing to pay a lot of money or willing to wait 4 hours and pay a lot of money. Neither of those options were possible for me. Nicely enough she told gave us the directions to another A&E unit near to the city center where they would help for free.

So after a while searching, we finally got to hospital number 3. My Polish flatmate went in to explain my situation and negotiate if I could get treatment and pay later. The doctor turned out to be very willing to help for free, after waiting only 25mins a doc came to have a look at me. He check my face over and diagnosed that I might have dislocated my jaw, but it had popped back in on itself...phew I didn't want to go through the process of popping it in....which I know to be very painful from past patients. I still had concerns why I couldn't close my mouth, which prevents me from eating. The very pleasant doc informed me that I should be ok in a day or so and advised me to go to a specialist tomorrow.

So all in all, so far I have found the health system over here a little fecked up not having the staff to treat a variety of injuries...more shocked that this happened in the A&E units as its where the most varied conditions are common. I hated the fact that I had to jump from one place to another, but I was very impressed with the way they were very understanding, and willing to help even though I didn't have the ready cash on me. So so far, after tracking down the correct place to get treated I have to say, it's not as bad as what i've been told. Tomorrow I will go to Nowa Huta to see the specialist, and spend the whole day there, so i'll be able to give a better report on the truths of the Polish Health System.

Undercover for the forums signing out to eat/drink soup through a straw ;)
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163  
13 Aug 2009 /  #2
Now stupid David doesn't have Health Insurance...

How is that possible ? Don't you work ?
OP dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
13 Aug 2009 /  #3
Yeah but I don't pay zus
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444  
13 Aug 2009 /  #4
I hope that you will feel better David.

Getting a private insurance maybe a good idea.
OP dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
13 Aug 2009 /  #5
Yeah, if I just filled out that European insurance card before I came to Poland I wouldn't have this problem. Can anyone clarify that if you have only nip number you can get free healthcare?

The way they worked out how much I must pay was rather strange.
50pln for consultation, 50pln for x-rays, 50pln for doctor, and 50pln for meds.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444  
13 Aug 2009 /  #6
Can anyone clarify that if you have only nip number you can get free healthcare?

as far as I know if you don't pay ZUS, you are not. I knew some ex-pats who had private life insurance in Poland but I don't remember the name of the company and things may have changed. I am sure there will be other people (ex-pats) who will be able to give you more accurate info:)
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
13 Aug 2009 /  #7
We went to the second hospital, and had a lengthy conversation with the woman behind the reception, who was very pleasant, but informed us they had no doctor that could help unless I was either willing to pay a lot of money or willing to wait 4 hours and pay a lot of money.

Shame the UK doesnt do the same to those that land here and expect abortions on the NHS!
esek 2 | 228  
13 Aug 2009 /  #8
as far as I know if you don't pay ZUS, you are not.

yes you're right.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
13 Aug 2009 /  #9
I hope you'll get well soon. And be glad you didn't get an intracranial bleeding. I've seen to much of that sh*t from street fights. There is sometimes very little violence needed. It looks really sad on the x-ray.

I hated the fact that I had to jump from one place to another

That's the way it is. Even if you're Polish or have a health insurance. People are usually sent to a several places. One doctor looks and maybe does somthing, then sends you to the next, same procedure and so on. And usually you need 10 different papers with 25 different stamps. Esp. if emergency situation with some x-rays and stuff needed.
OP dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
13 Aug 2009 /  #10
I mean, when I worked in A&E (judging if people were mentally right to accept treatment), we treated every bugger no matter what.

I hope that you will feel better David.

I hope you'll get well soon.

I forgot my manners, thankyou guys :) Its not really something im too messed up about, Im from Glasgow so this kinda thing happens a lot of times each day.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
13 Aug 2009 /  #11
I mean, when I worked in A&E (judging if people were mentally right to accept treatment), we treated every bugger no matter what.

All Doctors here to rotations so they are able to treat all injuries. Thats the difference.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163  
13 Aug 2009 /  #12
Yeah but I don't pay zus

So how are you employed ?
szkotja2007 27 | 1,500  
13 Aug 2009 /  #13
Hope you feel better soon D.
Getting a doing sucks.
OP dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
13 Aug 2009 /  #14
All Doctors here to rotations so they are able to treat all injuries. Thats the difference.

I think it is the same here, but because im a foreigner and had the problems about having cash on me at the time, they just didnt want to take the chance.

In the second place I was at, they were operating on a soldier just back from Iraq so most staff were taken up, and I didnt want to be a prick and force them to treat me.

So how are you employed ?

With Electrolux they pay me into a Scottish account and a contract for the UK.
With the other stuff I do here, I pay normal tax rates but not Zus because im not a Polish national or wanting to take a pension from Poland when im an old man. To be honest im not too sure about the legal system here, the accountant takes care of it.

Hope you feel better soon D.

Thanks :)

But please no one take pity on me, I was drunk so I might have been an ass too.
inkrakow  
14 Aug 2009 /  #15
Can anyone clarify that if you have only nip number you can get free healthcare?

I was told that I had to have paid ZUS in order to get free healthcare here, but that my EHIC card from the UK would have qualified me for emergency treatment. NIP just shows you pay tax on profits, not social security.
OP dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
14 Aug 2009 /  #16
ZUS as far as i know, and i could be wrong, is only for pensions.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444  
14 Aug 2009 /  #17
no, there are 3 separate contribution to ZUS, one covers old pension, the other health, and the third one I forget. Ask your accountant if you can contribute to the "health" one, so this way you will have a coverage to free health. He/she should know if you do and if there is a minimum numbers of months one has to pay for in order to qualify. If you have a registered "dzialalnosc gospodarcza" I think you actually obliged to pay the minimum ZUS, but I am not sure how this work if one is a foreigner.

I just checked the minimum health contribution to ZUS and it is 224.24 PLN per month.

Compare it to private/UK health insurance and see what the coverage is and how much you would have to pay for those two against ZUS monthly contribution. Voila!!!!!!!

As for you being responsible, well, maybe you were provoking them, but they could have broken your bones, so even if you are from Glasgow, there is no excuse to accept violence for refusing to give away a fag;)
OP dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
14 Aug 2009 /  #18
Well day 2 has passed...

Today in the morning I woke up at stupid time for me, stupid cos i had a day off!!!
The alarm went at 8am, and on time my french/polish gal friend was knocking at the door. 15 minutes later i was on the tram heading for Nowa Huta. Now this area of Krakow I love to death, everybody here says its so dangerous, but coming from Glasgow for me its paradise! It in fact has a big place in my heart, as it was the first place i lived in Krakow. The girl that is the reason I came to Krk was from here, and many a night when we were splitting up I would walk out rather than argue at 2am in the morning to visit the local Alkohole kiosk. Kurwaboys den, we would drink far too much and end up being asses really. But this visit to the specialist JAW unit was somewhat interesting.

In getting to the reception, and now armed with info from another forum member about eu insurance cards, meaning if i needed help here, i could get on the phone to my dad and have him fill out the forms and have the card here in 2 weeks, this time i didnt need to beg. But as with all things, I needed to pay. I was seen to within 15 minutes, very quick process, everything done within an hour. I felt bad because of this because I could see people who had been waiting a lot longer than me. As a nurse I hate to see that money rules. But eventually i found out that I have only....only i say cos i was **** scared of having the jaw popped in, a fractured jaw. This seemed like a blessing until the doc told me that if I fell through whatever action, and fecked my jaw again, I would be fecked.

All in all i have nothing really big to complain about, service was quick, I had treatment which is on par with the NHS, and it was so short i couldnt believe. BUT and a fecking great big BUT, i think this was only down to having the cash on me.

I have some treatment to come, and I do feel sorry for those people who were waiting a long time and they were polish. I get the impression if you are prepared to pay, then u will get the best, but if not, dont expect to be seen anytime soon...
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
14 Aug 2009 /  #19
Talk about "taking it on the chin"!.
OP dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
14 Aug 2009 /  #20
U are about the 5th person today to slag me on that :D
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
14 Aug 2009 /  #21
I get the impression if you are prepared to pay, then u will get the best, but if not, dont expect to be seen anytime soon...

Waiting 10 hours at the emergency department is not uncommon in most countries. Or waiting many weeks (or several months) before you can see a specialist, if you have a chronic disease. My impression so far is that you usually get help without waiting very long in Poland (even if you don't pay).

In most countries you can go to a private clinic, pay for an operation, and have it done in 1-2 weeks instead of 6 months. Is it fair? Probably not. But it shortens the time the other people have to wait.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730  
14 Aug 2009 /  #22
All in all i have nothing really big to complain about, service was quick, I had treatment which is on par with the NHS, and it was so short i couldnt believe. BUT and a fecking great big BUT, i think this was only down to having the cash on me.

How much did they take off you today?
OP dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
14 Aug 2009 /  #23
400, which aint too much i guess. If i needed wired it would be a huge amount.
polishcanuck 7 | 462  
14 Aug 2009 /  #24
dtaylor5632

Sorry to hear about your bad experience walking home at night, i hope i don't sound too aggressive, but...

1. You should have called the police after waking up. They would have arranged transportation to a hosptial/physician. On my last trip to PL a friend (loud-mouthed american) of my cousins was roughed up by some hooligans and this is exactly what he did and everything went well. If $ was an issue you could have called from the hospital.

2. Why didn't the 2 guys with you not pay for your treatment (and you could have paid them back later) ?????? Some good friends you have. I would have handed over my credit card (or went to the bank) in the blink of an eye.

This is not a lot of money for emergencies (even for a Pole):

50pln for consultation, 50pln for x-rays, 50pln for doctor, and 50pln for meds.

3. Are doctor's not obligated to treat everyone? Code of ethics? Hippocratic oath? SzwedwPolsce you're a med student in poland, care to enlighten me please?

Waiting 10 hours at the emergency department is not uncommon in most countries. Or waiting many weeks (or several months) before you can see a specialist, if you have a chronic disease.

Yup, Canada being one.

Best of luck with your recovery.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
15 Aug 2009 /  #25
Are doctor's not obligated to treat everyone? Code of ethics? Hippocratic oath? SzwedwPolsce you're a med student in poland, care to enlighten me please?

Ethically yes. By law probably no. It's a dilemma. These people are probably not even meeting the doctor (just a nurse or a secretary) before they are told they must bring their European Health Insurance Card (which is free) or pay.

So all European people: ALWAYS bring your European Health Insurance Card when you go to another county in the EU. It's free and you don't have to pay for any emergency visits/treatments at the hospital.
OP dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
15 Aug 2009 /  #26
Why didn't the 2 guys with you not pay for your treatment

The two guys were the guys who kicked the crap out of me, i forgot about the second guy.

The docs helped a lot like, i cant complain, they would have treated me for nothing, the key was to not speak to the ones in charge.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730  
15 Aug 2009 /  #27
Ethically yes. By law probably no. It's a dilemma. These people are probably not even meeting the doctor (just a nurse or a secretary) before they are told they must bring their European Health Insurance Card (which is free) or pay.

Even the UK NHS is now insisting that people bring their card when accessing the NHS, which they didn't do before.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
15 Aug 2009 /  #28
Do you honestly think that is happening? Youve been out of the UK for a few years and you dont work in the NHS, my mums friend gets at least 3 africans ready to drop each week with no NI but they treat them and they get post natal and antinatal care.

It has changed with regards to hospital in the south where asians got off the plane and expected to walk in to a hospital for cancer treatment!
polishcanuck 7 | 462  
15 Aug 2009 /  #29
The two guys were the guys who kicked the crap out of me, i forgot about the second guy.

I was referrring to these 2 guys:

So today I woke up with no wallet and what I thought was a dislocated jaw and after taking care of some business, Me, Cardno, and my Polish flatmate went on the look for a hospital which has an A&E department.

dnz 17 | 710  
15 Aug 2009 /  #30
Couldn't you say you lost your card when you got mugged and show them your passport? UK citizens are entitled to free healthcare here, In my experience the polish healthcare system is excellent, Even if you did have a card no doubt it would have been kept in your wallet anyway and when they put the details into the system it isn't going to be processed straight away this is polish administration so you should be in the clear.

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