Information for patients
Public healthcare in Poland is provided free at the point of need through a national health insurance scheme. Insurance schemes are administered by private companies, which hold contracts with regional offices of the National Health Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia or NDZ). Contributions are compulsory, with voluntary top ups, and are paid by both employers and employees.
The place where a patient first contacts the health care system is Basic Health care Units (BHU), where the patient, by receiving a proper referral, can obtain access to specialized health care. Out-patient care (basic and specialized) is conducted by health care entities such as out-patient clinics, dispensaries, and doctor’s practices,
The online patient account allows citizens to check their electronic health records including the history of visits to medical professionals under the NFZ (Poland’s National Healthcare).
Emergency Medical Services (Polish: Ratownictwo Medyczne, RM) in Poland are a service of public, pre-hospital emergency healthcare, including ambulance service, provided by the individual Polish cities and counties.
Private healthcare has been growing rapidly, with a number of providers bypassing the state system altogether and building their own private hospitals and clinics in major cities such as Warsaw and Gdansk. These hospitals provide treatment that is paid for directly by the patient and is unlikely to be covered by the Polish health insurance schemes.
Information for healthcare professionals
The system of medical education in Poland is basically a 5-6 year training program (medicine, dentistry, pharmaceuticals), which ends with a general examination. To get the full right to practice, you must complete a six-year course, including a 13-month professional internship and take the National Medical Exam.
Foreign credentials can be recognized in Poland according to different procedures, depending on the country of their origin, the level of education and the purpose of recognition (academic or professional).
Professional qualifications for the pursue of regulated professions and activities obtained in EU countries are recognized according to EU directives. All doctors could practice in Poland only after procedure of “nostrification” regulated by special legislation.
The lack of doctors in Poland has become a serious problem over recent months. A draft bill by the Health Ministry aims at encouraging doctors from outside the EU to find a job in Poland and stay in the country by streamlining the process of accepting candidates. The foreigners from countries that are not in the EU will have to pass Doctor Verification Exam (LEW) or Dentist Doctor Verification (LDEW). Such exams will confirm the professional qualifications of doctors.
Information for travellers
Free medical services are offered to citizens of the EU and four EFTA (European Free Trade Association) states: Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Tourists from the above-mentioned states should acquire the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travelling.
With government backing and strong investment from international private healthcare providers, Poland is rapidly becoming a leading destination for healthcare tourism in Europe, offering that ideal combination of high quality care and low, affordable prices. A visit to a GP will cost between 80 and 150 zloty, depending on the kind of advice you seek, and the region you are in.
Link to Ministry of Health: https://www.gov.pl/web/zdrowie