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The healthcare system in Poland

As in many former Eastern Bloc states, the healthcare system in Poland has undergone radical changes as it has adapted from a communism to an open-market capitalism.

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.

As is often the case, healthcare is something of a political issue in Poland, with the government accused of deliberately keeping compulsory health insurance contributions low in order to encourage the growth of the private health insurance industry. The election of President Bronislaw Komorowski in 2010 was seen by many as a turning point as he has always pushed for large scale commercialisation of the Polish healthcare system.

In response to the poor quality of state provision, private healthcare has been growing rapidly in Poland, 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.

Since 2009, several high profile, top quality clinics have been built, including the 150-bed St Raphael’s Hospital in Krakow and the 180-bed Medicover hospital in Warsaw. Many other brand new, state of the art clinics and hospitals are planned over the next few years, providing the very highest standards of equipment, service and treatment for medical tourists.

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.

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