Healthcare spend to reach 6% of GDP in 2024 as Ministry strikes deal with junior doctors

Minister of Health Lukasz Szumowski and the OZZL Junior Doctors’ Alliance on 8 February announced that they have reached a deal in their talks over higher pay for doctors and increased public spending on healthcare. A key part of the deal is a commitment on the part of the government to raise public healthcare expenditure faster, so as to reach 6% of GDP in 2024 rather than 2025.

In 2018, public healthcare spending is to amount to at least 4.78% of GDP, in 2019 – 4.86%, in 2020 – 5.03%, in 2021 – 5.3%, in 2022 – 5.55%, and in 2023 – 5.8%. This means more than PLN 2bn (€479m) extra for patients in 2018 and a total of about PLN 16bn (€3.8bn) until 2024, said Jaroslaw Bilinski, vice president of the Junior Doctors’ Alliance.

In addition, there will be a pay rise for all junior doctors, and for all specialist doctors except those who do the same job in more than one public hospital, effective from 1 July 2018. Junior doctors will also be offered an automatic salary top-up after completing their training, in return for a commitment to work in Poland for at least two of the first five years. Their salaries will be reviewed again in 2020.

The Ministry of Health will also prepare a legislative proposal introducing medical secretaries or aides into healthcare entities, so as to reduce the amount of paperwork currently being required of doctors and nurses.

The agreement also contains a commitment on the part of the Minister of Health to further boost the number of places in medical and nursing schools and to increase the number of practicing healthcare professionals, among other things.