Doctor-free day in Poland's south amid ongoing protest
PR dla Zagranicy
A doctors' union has announced a “doctor-free day” will be held in the Małopolska province in Poland's south, which includes Kraków, next Wednesday, amid an ongoing hunger strike.
Only emergency rooms will be open in hospitals in the southern Polish province on Wednesday, according to a statement issued by the union, OZZL, on its Facebook page.
OZZL said the one-day strike is a doctors' initiative and is not organized by the union.
A dispute over pay and conditions started on 2 October, when a group of 20 resident doctors started a hunger strike in the foyer of a Warsaw paediatric hospital.
They recently said they expect an immediate pay rise to 105% of the national average monthly wage of PLN 4,600 (EUR 1,010) gross each month, roughly PLN 3,200 net, after earlier demanding double the national average. Resident doctors claim to make PLN 2,100-2,500 net, about PLN 3,000-3,5000 gross, each month.
They have also demanded an increase in healthcare spending to 6.8 percent of GDP. Healthcare spending in Poland is currently at an all-time high of 4.7 percent of GDP, while the World Health Organization recommends at least six percent of GDP.
Healthcare expenditure in Poland will increase to 6 percent of GDP by 2025 under legislation approved by a key government committee, a Cabinet minister said on Thursday.
The protesting doctors have claimed there is a doctor shortage and that Polish medics are going abroad for work, and demanded better working conditions, shorter hospital waiting lists, and less red tape. (vb/pk)