How to get free health care in Poland?

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How to get free health care in Poland?

How to get free health care in Poland?

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Ukrainians who arrived in Poland on February 24, 2022 and later are entitled to free medical care on a par with the country's citizens. This right is granted to all citizens of Ukraine, from minor children to the elderly.


In order to receive medical care, you must have the following documents:


- Foreign passport of a citizen of Ukraine, which has a mark of crossing the border not earlier than February 24, 2022

- If you crossed the border without a passport - a document confirming the date of crossing the Polish border by Polish services

- In addition, Ukrainians who intend to stay in Poland for a certain period can get a PESEL number - an analogue of the Ukrainian identification number. It provides access to health care services on a regular basis, social assistance, etc.


The procedure for obtaining a PESEL for Ukrainians has been simplified. To apply, you need to contact the administration of any commune (similar to the Ukrainian united territorial communities, OTG) and submit an application, photos and your current data. The step-by-step instructions are at the link.


Poland has provided Ukrainians with free access to health care at all levels:


- basic medical care - visits to family doctors, ambulance call;

- specialized outpatient care;

- diagnostic tests (as directed by a doctor);

- inpatient treatment;

- psychiatric treatment;

- rehabilitation (except resorts);

- dental services.


You can find the medical institution by calling the free 24-hour hotline: 800 190 590.


The hotline counselor will help determine what medical care the patient needs, which doctor to go to, and provide the address and telephone number of the facility where this care can be obtained.


In addition, if a patient from Ukraine needs medical care at night and on weekends, in Poland there is a special first contact teleplatform (TPK) called 800 137 200.


TPK works around the clock on weekdays from 18:00 to 8 am the next day, on weekends and holidays. Citizens of Ukraine can receive:


- medical consultation;

- electronic prescription;

- electronic referral to the clinic;

- electronic referral to the hospital;

- referral for coronavirus test.


More information is available at the link.


How the medical system works in Poland


The Polish medical system is similar in principle to the Ukrainian one - the country has a National Health Fund, which is analogous to our National Health Service of Ukraine. As in Ukraine, medical care for patients is completely free.


At the first sign of deteriorating health and for preventive care (such as routine vaccination), the patient should consult a family doctor. Polish family doctors take care of the whole family. These medical specialists issue referrals to doctors who provide specialized medical care (ophthalmologists, cardiologists, endocrinologists), as well as prescribe referrals for additional diagnostics and laboratory tests.


In Poland, the vast majority of drugs are available on prescription.


Ukrainians can consult and receive medical care from oncologists, gynecologists, psychiatrists, dentists or doctors who treat sexually transmitted diseases - without a referral from a family doctor. That is, if the patient needs these specialists, he/she  can register for a appointment with them on his own without paying for this medical care.


You can find the right medical facility by calling the free 24-hour hotline 800 190 590.


It will be useful for Ukrainians to know that Polish family doctors receive from 8:00 to 18:00, by appointment.


If emergency care is needed, the patient can call an ambulance. But it is important to remember that this only applies to cases where there is a threat to life or health.


If the patient can get to the clinic on their own, then in Poland there are special primary care facilities that accept around the clock.


Ambulance call number - 999.


Universal number for calls in case of emergencies, such as an accident or fire - 112.


The vast majority of Polish doctors do not speak English, so Ukrainians need to try to find someone who can translate. For the convenience of Ukrainians, the Ministry of Health of Poland has developed a special medical dictionary.


Poland also has a drug reimbursement system, similar to the Ukrainian "Available Medicines". This means that patients can receive medicines free of charge or at an additional cost in pharmacies. The Polish list of reimbursed drugs is slightly wider than the Ukrainian one.