mBank-CASE Seminar Proceedings No. 156: What’s next for healthcare in Poland: diagnosis and prognosis

The health protection system is the object of constant pressures and difficulties in mitigating them, and even more so eliminating or at least reducing them. Changes are undertaken under the influence of a one-sided political assessment, the interests of various groups of participants or the protests of successive groups of medical staff. There is no professional and fully documented diagnosis of the system, made by independent experts, which could serve as the basis for a comprehensive health protection reform plan, rather than individual, incidental changes that disrupt the system’s already very fragile balance. A well thought-out reform, properly distributed over time, so that at no point does it cause negative health effects. A reform agreed among stake-holders and adopted with understanding of the need for changes, so that it is supported by society. A reform for which there will be funds, institutions and engaged professionals – leaders in health protection. A reform that won’t be criticized or changed when the government changes. Such a reform is waiting to be presented and debated. We begin this process by pointing out and presenting the system’s main problems. At the top of the list of issues that must be taken up urgently we place the problem of insufficient resources, but associated with other activities that are essential to achieve higher effectiveness in accomplishing health goals. There is no single miraculous way of balancing and fixing the functioning of the health protection system. This requires both greater financing, qualitatively and quantitatively appropriate staffing, and good institutions. Financial resources are a necessary condition but not a sufficient one – if there is no staff or appropriate institutions, and these are shaped over years.

In this publication we present four subjects, corresponding to that list of the main issues that must be addressed urgently. We begin with the problem of good governance, meaning achieving a decisive improvement in institutional solutions in health protection. Next we take up the problem of the need for growth in financial outlays, with judicious public and individual responsibility. We strongly accent the need for development in Poland of medical and support staff, presenting the problems of neglect and the deep shortage of professionals, which is currently paralyzing the health service. The final text, though no less important in the group of priority problems in health protection, concerns public health and demands that it be properly valued by treating care for the health of the population as an investment in human capital with a measurable and significant rate of return.


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