Polish Health Care Falls Behind the Rest of Europe

Only six European health care systems are assessed worse than the Polish system according to the latest Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI) report. The report compares health care systems every year, focusing mainly on the issues most important for the patients. EHCI is exceptional because the assessment, also for Poland, is made by independent foreign experts.

The Polish health care system falls behind again. We gained the total of 577 points in such aspects as access to medical procedures, access to medicines, abiding by the patients’ rights, etc. Except expert research and analysis the assessment consists of polling the patients’ opinions. We have been overtaken by the Czechs (694), Slovaks (675) and Spaniards (603). Hungary gained as many points as Poland. The research assessed negatively mainly the access to medical procedures and operations, as well as queues.

‘The assessment resulting from the report is made from the perspective of patients who are the most important persons for each good health care system. The results achieved by Poland clearly indicate that the system needs immediate changes. It must be remembered that the health of a society affects economic growth and the economic standing of a country, in a longer horizon’, says Dorota M. Fal, PIU Management Board Advisor for Health Insurance.

The EHCI research has again assessed the Dutch system as the best (872). ‘It is a country where no National Health Fund is operating, every citizen has a private policy, and private insurers are responsible for the finance and coordination of treatment’, says Jan Grzegorz Prądzyński, President of PIU Management Board.

PIU has long been discussing changes in the Polish health care system with the Ministry of Health. In April 2011 – during public consultations – the PIU experts prepared a bill regarding popularisation of private health insurance. Such solution would eliminate the problem of queues.

In 2008, PIU proposed a comprehensive plan – the only one so far – of introducing a system of competitive private health funds in Poland. The plan alluding to the Dutch solutions has now been updated. Introduction of competition between private funds was announced several months ago by Health Minister Bartorsz Arłukowicz.
The complete report in English may be found on the Internet site of the Swedish Health Consumer Powerhouse research institute making the research every year.