Health Care in Poland

Health Care in Poland

Health Care in Poland

Poland is famous for its favorable climatic conditions and ancient cities with a rich history and also developed medical care. Treatment in Poland in recent years has been equal in quality to any European country. Resorts and sanatoriums offer excellent conditions for rest and rehabilitation. Poland ranks 7th in Europe regarding the number of healing water sources. Due to the high healthcare standards, developed infrastructure, and affordable cost of treatment, the number of medical tourists in Poland is steadily growing every year. Citizens and guests of the country can receive qualified healthcare in hospitals and medical centers equipped with the latest technology. As a result, the life expectancy of Poles increases every year.

Healthcare system in Poland: how does it work

The healthcare system in Poland in the form in which it exists today has been developing over the past decades. The country ranks 50th in the ranking of the World Health Organization.

6.6% of Poland's GDP (gross domestic product) is spent on healthcare. Since 2003, compulsory health insurance has been in effect in the country. Medical insurance contributions (9% of personal income) are deducted from the salary of each Pole.

In addition to medical insurance, the sources of financing for healthcare in Poland are:

  • the state budget;
  • patients' resources;
  • financing based on the payment of a specific list of medical services, most often purchased by enterprises for employees and their families.

The most vulnerable social strata have access to free medical services paid for by the State treasury. More affluent citizens are owners of additional healthcare insurance. There is a common situation in which the employer pays health insurance costs. State insurance provides for payment for the services of general practitioners, the cost of medicines, staying in hospitals, nursing care, and sanitary transport.

The Ministry of Health is responsible for healthcare in Poland at the State level. The country has a single national health insurance fund – the Narodowego Funduszu Zdrowia, with 16 regional branches. This fund is a monopolist in the healthcare system. Its functions include:

  • Organizing and holding tenders to purchase medical goods and services.
  • Concluding and controlling contracts.
  • Implementing approved healthcare programs.

Private entrepreneurs and citizens who employers do not insure can purchase a voluntary health insurance policy. Poles can also get additional health insurance by signing contracts with a private insurance company. They often resort to supplemental health insurance to avoid queues in hospitals.

Clinics in Poland

Along with public hospitals and polyclinics, there is an extensive network of private medical institutions in the country, representing private consulting medical offices and clinics that conduct paid operations and other specialized procedures.

There are more than 10 thousand dental offices, about 500 diagnostic centers, and about 1.8 thousand hospitals and polyclinics in the country. Every clinic in Poland is equipped with modern equipment and meets international standards.

Among the best hospitals in Poland and the most trusted are:

  • Medicover (Warsaw). The largest private multidisciplinary healthcare center.
  • American Heart of Poland (Katowice) is a group of healthcare centers created jointly by American and Polish doctors. Specializes in cardiovascular diseases and cardiac surgery.
  • Carolina Medical Center (Warsaw). Specializes in robotic rehabilitation, rheumatology, traumatology, sports injuries, and surgery.
  • University Hospital (Krakow). One of the leading multidisciplinary healthcare centers.
  • Albusdent (Krakow) – available dental treatment and aesthetic dentistry.
  • IQ Medica Clinic (Warsaw). The famous plastic and aesthetic surgery center.
  • University Children's Clinic (Lublin). One of the leading in cancer treatment.

Some of them, such as the Damian Medical Center, located in the capital, has gained worldwide fame due to their success in plastic surgery. This institution is accredited by the Center for Monitoring the Quality of Medical Services (Center for Monitoring Healthcare Quality).

Where to get help?

To receive healthcare in Poland, you can contact:

  • Ambulance. At the same time, a call-out is provided only in situations that directly threaten life. Therefore, the ambulance slogan in Poland can be called the phrase: if you can get to the hospital yourself, you have no right to call an ambulance.
  • Polyclinics. Designed to serve patients who need special care or initial consultation.
  • Hospitals. Accepts patients who require quick help (childbirth, injuries, etc.).
  • Dental clinics. The insurance does not fully cover dental treatment services, so the patient must pay extra for specific work.
  • Laboratories. They specialize in studies and analysis only under the attending physician's direction.

What about the disadvantages of healthcare in Poland?

The healthcare system in Poland as a whole is quite effective. However, despite the many advantages, there are also some disadvantages. After the reforms carried out in the country, according to many citizens, healthcare in Poland has become more bureaucratic. The primary discontent of residents is:

  • Queues in hospitals. It is possible to get to a doctor of a narrow specialization only after a few months.
  • Limited visiting time. At most, 30 minutes per patient, and only in rare cases, one hour. Unfortunately, such restrictions are associated with a large influx of people for complementary medicine.
  • Personnel hunger. Many doctors go to neighboring EU countries for higher salaries. More than 66% of Polish doctors are over 45 years old. If there is no influx of new personnel, then in ten years, Poland will have to invite doctors from abroad to work.

In conclusion, today, the main strategic directions are protecting the health of an aging population, the dynamic development of healthcare in Poland, and considering new technologies, which will require a lot of tangible and intangible resources.


  1. AeroMedical: Best Hospitals for Treatment in Poland
  2. International Medical Travel Journal: Poland
  3. GHS Index: Country Profile for Poland
  4. Ministerstwo Zdrowia
  5. Statista: Total expenditure on health as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) in Poland