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Shortage of doctors, nurses and caregivers in Poland

18 Nov 2015 /  #1
One PF member doubted the info I provided about a shortage of doctors in Poland in one of the threads, he wrote that all my posts "are from within Poland and lack objectivity" lol I've noticed many times on PF that when a Pole is providing some info or some Polish statistics are provided or whatever they are often deemed to be untrustworthy. Well then, if a Pole is not worthy enough to be trusted and Polish media are not worthy enough to be believed then here I have for you a multitude of links in English, most of them from British media with one exception - one link is from Deutsche Welle. Those articles are from 2005 to 2015 and are covering the problem from all angles, including the British one.

I've also seen news about it on BBC channel on TV not that long ago - they were showing a chart comparing doctor to patient ratio in a few countries, including Poland (I imagine those were the figures from the OECD raport for 2014).

For those who are too lazy to read I've also included some positive quotes about Polish doctors from those articles because I've noticed there's a conviction among Westerners on this forum that Polish doctors are inferior to the British ones (just like everyone and everything else is, apparently, inferior in Poland to everyone and everything in the UK and the rest of the West).

I myself more or less two years ago waited around 5 months for an endocrinologist visit. When I broke my finger 3 years ago I went to a hospital and there was one doctor for the whole hospital treating fractures, he didn't even have a nurse to help him or anyone else and despite the fact that he was treating people in an express tempo like a worker on some factory line I was waiting for hours for my turn (it was a Friday evening somewhere around the beginning of summer holiday). Also, my aunt who is a nurse worked for some time in Italy as a caregiver. She now works as a nurse at an orthopaedic ward in Poland but she's in her fifties, I think, and already had serious back problems from lifting heavy patients...

A video about the problem on Deutsche Welle:

"The country does not have enough doctors, nurses or other caregivers."

Article from 2005 (there wasn't a shortage yet, but they were fearing it would come in the future - and it came):

"Pawel Trzcinski, of the Polish Health Ministry, said: 'It is good doctors with good English that are leaving. Only the best get through the examination process. The ones that leave are highly skilled, highly talented and dynamic. They are the cream.'"

'I worked for free as a senior house officer at the Interior Ministry hospital in Krakow because I wanted the experience. They could not afford to pay me. Most Polish doctors do a few jobs to get by, but many can't even find work in a decent hospital, where you need the right connections to get anywhere.'

'I feel like a citizen of Europe. But the loss of all these doctors can only damage the Polish health service. Who will treat Poles in 10 years' time? Russians and Ukrainians. Everyone is moving west now.'

"The doctors are well trained, motivated and dedicated," he said.
"They have made a valuable contribution to a number of departments, particularly in critical care, theatres and renal services"

Polish ambassador in Britain about the shortage:

'We have lost - from what I know - 2,300 doctors in Britain. Of course they were educated in Poland for free so we want them, it is obvious."

"Doctors in former Eastern Bloc countries, such as Poland, can expect to earn less than the average wage, which is around £300 a month. Dr Robinski can earn the same amount in one shift in the UK."

Looks like there's a problem in the UK too:

"New OECD figures show only Romania, Poland, Slovenia and Ireland have fewer doctors per head than the UK"
" It is actively recruiting in Poland for "qualified paramedics where their qualifications, skills and experience are very similar to our own and meet our own high standards for staff," said a spokesman."
18 Nov 2015 /  #2
because I've noticed there's a conviction among Westerners on this forum that Polish doctors are inferior to the British ones

May I be the first to say that my GP, local hospital and local 24 hour drop-in clinic are fantastic?
OP Paulina  
18 Nov 2015 /  #3
Delph, I actually didn't mean you ;)
18 Nov 2015 /  #4
I know, I know, but I wanted to praise Poland anyway :)

Now they're all using the e-wus system, I really wish they could implement a system that only allows people to register for an appointment at one specialist at once. It would go a long, long way to getting rid of the waiting times.
G (undercover)  
4 Nov 2017 /  #5
I don't think that many doctors left Poland, certainly less than let's say builders. The shortage is done on purpose just like many other things in the health care. In theory everything is "free" but in practice there's not enough funds to cover the costs so you've got 1 year long waiting times and then all that can afford it go for the private health care.

Same with doctors having "many jobs". Come one, I wouldn't have time to sleep If I wanted to have more than 1 job. Their "full time jobs" for NFZ aren't usually really "full time". They are paid little but then allowed to have some extra jobs on the side. In effect NFZ patients have troubles to catch them but they can get the same service from the same guy paying in cash.

It's like government providing free lunches "for everyone" but then they employ half the number of cooks needed to prepare all the meals. Many people would go elsewhere anyway instead of waiting in line for 2 hours to get their "free" food.

The shortage of doctors is the effect, not the underlying issue. As a short term solution one could import some from abroad (Ukraine, Belarus) and in the long therm just train more young doctors. But they simply have never wanted to do that. Come on, they teach thousands of foreigners (not intending to work in PL after that) for money at the Med Academies as we speak and the entry barriers for Poles are more difficult than getting a job at NASA. They just don't want to have more NFZ doctors as there is not enough money to pay for their salaries, training, equipment, infrastructure etc.

The long term solutions are: either increase the NFZ budget or admit that not everything is "for free" and make it clear which services NFZ is able to cover at this level of funding.

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