“Doctor-free day” protest in southern Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
Medical staff in southern Poland on Wednesday launched a protest in support of a hunger strike by young doctors demanding increased health spending.
Health officials and patients’ representatives meet resident doctors holding a hunger strike in Kraków, southern Poland. Photo: PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk
The OZZL doctors' union had announced that only emergency rooms would be open in hospitals in the southern Małopolska province during the “doctor-free day” protest.
But the IAR news agency reported that the majority of physicians came to work and that the largest medical facilities in the region were working as normal.
A dispute over pay and conditions started on October 2, when a group of 20 resident doctors started a hunger strike in the foyer of a Warsaw paediatric hospital.
Resident doctors are calling for health expenditure in Poland to increase steadily until it reaches 6.8 percent of GDP by 2021. The doctors are also demanding a pay hike.
Under a proposal approved by the government on Tuesday, healthcare expenditure in Poland is to increase to 6 percent of GDP by 2025.
Health Minister Konstanty Radziwiłł said the legislation would bring health expenditure in the country to its highest level ever.
Radziwiłł on Wednesday added that Poland should be more open to taking in doctors from neighbouring countries such as Ukraine and Belarus.