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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Abortion. Ministry regulation and threats of penalties for hospitals. “There will be no more reduced tariffs”

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No more abusing the conscience clause. According to the new guidelines of the Ministry of Health, every hospital in Poland is obliged to perform legal abortions. Refusal is equivalent to a penalty including loss of the contract from the National Health Fund. So it has to be. How is it? Still different, as the inspections of the Patient Ombudsman show.

The words are strong. Actions must be decisive. The Patient Rights Ombudsman defends women. – There will no longer be any reduced tariffs – announces Bartłomiej Chmielowiec, Patient Ombudsman. – We have signals about irregularities, these inspections are ongoing – he informs.

This is all due to new regulations of the Ministry of Health, which from June provide for high penalties for hospitals for refusing to perform legal abortions.

– Any form of sealing will perhaps bring us closer to normalizing the situation in which the patient will simply have access to the option of terminating the pregnancy – says Professor Maciej Socha, head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at St. Adalbert's Hospital in Gdańsk.

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Because if the patient has indications, every hospital in Poland is obliged to perform such a procedure – this is what the contract with the National Health Fund is about.

There should always be a doctor on duty, ready to terminate the pregnancy if necessary

– The hospital cannot say that all doctors employed in its unit are guided by the conscience clause – says Dr. Gizela Jagielska, gynecologist, Deputy Director of the District Hospital Complex in Oleśnica.

And there should always be a doctor on duty, ready to terminate the pregnancy if necessary. – Our work is organized in such a way that it will be possible for patients who report this problem – says Dariusz Kopczyński, acting Deputy Director for Treatment at the Municipal Hospital in Częstochowa.

And if there is no suitable doctor, you need to hire one. – As part of the mandate agreement, contract agreement, you can commission other doctors to perform this type of procedures – says Bartłomiej Chmielowiec.

“I'm really looking forward to normalization”

Doctors say the idea is good, but one ministerial regulation will not change the fact that women still travel all over Poland to the few places where they are not denied help.

– It is sad that we have to generate such regulations so that women receive the care and care they are entitled to – points out Dr. Gizela Jagielska.

– Patients come to us all the time, not only from Podkarpacie, from the Lublin province, but also from Łódź. I don't know if it will be possible to find a solution to this – adds Professor Filip Dąbrowski, head of the Gynecological and Obstetrics Department of the Bielański Hospital in Warsaw.

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The Ombudsman for Patients' Rights says that the solution is inspections, which he is currently conducting against several hospitals, and penalties. – Up to two percent of the contract for each such case, but in serious situations there is also a risk of total loss of the contract – informs the Patients' Rights Ombudsman.

Plus a half-million fine following the inspection and the possibility of a civil lawsuit from the patient. – We can support them (patients – editor's note) in a possible civil lawsuit for compensation – says Bartłomiej Chmielowiec.

Because until abortion regulations in Poland change, patients can demand compliance with their rights by submitting a complaint by e-mail, in person or at the 24-hour hotline of the Patient Ombudsman.

– I am very much waiting for normalization, for things to finally be normal in Poland – comments Professor Filip Dąbrowski, head of the Gynecological and Obstetrics Department at the Bielański Hospital in Warsaw.

– I am asking you to trust us – appeals to the Patient Ombudsman.

Main photo source: TVN24

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