Doctors hit streets demanding higher wages
THOUSANDS of doctors, nurses and hospital workers marched through central Warsaw demanding Poland’s right-wing government spend more on public health, especially to hike notoriously low salaries.
“After six years of studies and a thirteen-month internship, I earn 2200 zloty [US$580] per month,” young doctor Bartlomiej Kolodziejczyk told AFP. “It’s impossible to raise a family on that.”
Protesters say that to earn a decent salary many physicians work up to 80 hours per week, and the long hours lead to exhaustion and pose a health risk to staff and patients.
Protesters are demanding that Poland’s populist Law and Justice (PiS) government immediately hike health spending to 6.8 percent of GDP as recommended by the World Health Organisation. Poland currently spends 4.5pc of GDP on health.
In July, the PiS administration triggered outrage among health workers when it vowed it would meet the WHO target by 2025.
Speaking briefly at the rally on September 24, PiS Health Minister Konstanty Radziwill promised to raise spending next year.
Faced with low wages at home, around 10pc of young doctors choose to work abroad, mostly in Western Europe, according to Polish media.
An EU member of 38 million people, Poland has one of the lowest doctor-to-patient ratios in Europe.
Around 6000 health workers took part in the demonstration, according to Warsaw city hall.
Polish doctors and health professionals take part in a demonstration demanding more financial support for public health services.