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Polish healthcare system from the perspective of Ukrainians

24th February 2022 – the day of the Russian aggression which turned the lives of our neighbours into a nightmare. A lot of them were forced to leave their country and many found refuge in Poland. Unfortunately, the problems that they left behind in Ukraine have been replaced by others – in our country.

For three months, our new citizens have been struggling with housing, economic and health problems. In particular, women and children are in a special situation because they are the ones who mostly left their country. Money can be obtained as well as an apartment but the most important thing for people is their health, so we should look at the situation of Ukrainians in a broader context, namely the medical one.

Polish reality

Let’s look at the numbers that affect every Ukrainian man and woman. Currently, the life expectancy of a Ukrainian man is 67 years and of a Ukrainian woman – 77 years. A particular challenge is the high mortality of working-age people and health inequalities depending on the social and economic status. The risk of death from a chronic disease of people aged 30-70 in Ukraine is 35% – for comparison, in Poland it is 25%.

The numbers alone show that Ukrainians must be guaranteed healthcare. Only from the beginning of the war to the present day, between 1 and 1.5 million refugees may have come to Poland – 1.15 million of them are registered in the PESEL system. We should remember that before the war, up to 1.3 million people with Ukrainian citizenship lived in Poland. In the first three weeks of the war alone, over
3 million refugees escaped to Poland. Some of the people who came to Poland left for other EU countries or returned to Ukraine. How does it affect Polish healthcare? This situation will burden Polish hospitals even more.

Help provided to refugees by Poles and the Polish government has been impressive right from the start. Already since April, refugees from Ukraine have been entitled to medical care, including healthcare benefits, on the terms and conditions and to the extent that it is granted to people covered by compulsory or voluntary health insurance. However, refugees do not have the right to health resort treatment and rehabilitation.

Despite the government’s high-profile promises, help provided to refugees has not been sufficient at all levels. “In May, refugees from Ukraine who fled the war face problems in accessing proper healthcare in Poland”, thinks Ombudsman Marcin Wiącek. According to the Ombudsman, the biggest problems for Ukrainians are the following:

  • access to primary healthcare;
  • treatment of patients without medical records;
  • difficulties in accessing health services in the absence of a PESEL number;
  • refunds as part of medicine programmes;

What does the Ministry of Health say to this? “The Ministry plans to create separate medical facilities for refugees from Ukraine. When it comes to regulating the financing of translators’ services, we can read that there is no legal basis for NFZ [National Health Fund] to cover the costs”, said Waldemar Kraska, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health. He also reminded that not long ago, the Ministry launched the LikarPL application, which is supposed to facilitate medical consultations for refugees from Ukraine. In addition, the Teleplatform of First Contact (TPK) service was extended to include people using the Ukrainian language and the Internet Patient Account (IKP) in Ukrainian was launched.

Despite the government’s efforts, the situation in Polish hospitals is still dramatic. There are many problems: ageing medical personnel, serious staff shortages, long queues to specialist doctors, basing the system on expensive hospitalisation (instead of cheaper outpatient care), ineffective prophylaxis, too late diagnostics, poor financial situation of healthcare facilities and, finally, the lack of
a coordinated approach.

What is the solution to this situation? Refugees and, broadly speaking, all immigrants who came to our country deserve and require medical care at the highest level. The Polish healthcare system has serious problems, the government acts slowly and often ineffectively. According to the analysis of the Statistics Poland (GUS), there were 898 general hospitals in the country in 2020. Statistically, this means that
2.5 hospitals serve 100,000 inhabitants, i.e. there are on average 660 places for hospitalisation for such a population. Not everyone can wait for help.


What if it were possible to have access to all state and private medical facilities, not only in Poland but also abroad?

Such a solution is offered by MediSky International. MediSky Health Cards will provide our guests from Ukraine with access to the most comprehensive and professional medical care in Poland and abroad. Thanks to the free choice of facilities, each citizen of Ukraine will have the opportunity to use private services without queuing for medical assistance.

MediSky has been supporting the Ukrainian community in Poland since the beginning of the war. Our help is extensive – it is not only about hosting Ukrainians by the company’s employees, but also hiring people to our team. Especially to make it easier for people looking for health insurance, MediSky has created a website in Ukrainian:

Additionally, a person from Ukraine was assigned to serve our clients.

We invite you to visit our specially created profiles on social media.

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