Health Care in Poland

is a joke.

To begin with, there’s no private insurance to speak of because its’ too expensive. Insurance in general is expensive here. Almost no one here has his car insured against theft. Considering the fact that an inexpensive new car would cost me twenty months’ of my salary, that’s ridiculous.

There is free public health care for everyone, but that’s only in theory. In practice, a lack of physicians and a lack of motivation (i.e., low salary) on the part of practicing physicians mean long waits for appointments (a matter of months sometimes) and ineffective services.

When you visit a doctor in a public clinic in Poland, you probably won’t be asked many questions. The doctor will get his pittance no matter how well he serves you, so he’d just as soon send you on your way so he can get through the multitude of patients he has for the day. A cursory glance, a question or two, and then whip out the prescription pad.

Not only that, but supplies are non-existent. You have to go buy your own anti-toxin, for example, if you step on a nail. If you’re coming in for an extended stay in the hospital (i.e., to give birth), you have bring your own toilet paper. And so on.

So public health care is dismal. If you want to get better, you go to a private clinic — and pay.

Personal case in point: I had throat problems a couple of years ago. Several visits to laryngologist working at the public hospital produced few results. One visit to a private laryngologist all but solved the problem. The difference: she didn’t just jot down a prescription after a cursory glance at my throat. She performed a detailed examination, with lots of questions, then provided not just a prescription, but a regimen for throat care.

The problem is pay — or lack thereof. Doctors are flooding out of Poland, mainly to Scandinavia.

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