Health Minister Adam Niedzielski revealed that doctor Piotr Pisula, who spoke about the problems of patients without access to prescriptions in the material of “Fakty” TVN, prescribed certain drugs for himself. The minister has publicly disclosed the name of the doctor. – This is a potential violation of Article 51 of the Constitution, which states that public authorities cannot handle citizens’ data in this way – said the doctor himself in the “Kampania #BezKitu” program on TVN24. He added that the minister’s entry was a shock to him and is associated with sadness and anxiety, and friends are asking if he will be in trouble now. He was defended by the medical community, including the Supreme Medical Chamber and the Residents’ Agreement. After criticism of the minister, the matter was commented on by the Ministry of Health and its spokesman.
In the Thursday edition of “Fakty” TVN, journalist Marek Nowicki described that for two days doctors across the country have been having trouble dispensing painkillers and psychiatric drugs to patients because health department changed the rules. The Ministry of Health explained that in this way it was fighting pathologies on the prescription market. As a result, as it was presented, the doctor, in order to write an e-prescription for painkillers, must verify the patient’s online account and check whether he is not abusing these drugs.
Minister of Health: We checked. The doctor wrote out a prescription for himself yesterday
The Minister of Health referred to the material on Friday Adam Niedzielski. “In yesterday’s issue we heard that patients after orthopedic surgeries in Poznań have not received prescriptions for painkillers for the last 2 days. We checked in Poznań. And what? Patients after orthopedic surgeries received prescriptions for the indicated drugs!!” – he wrote.
In the next entry, Niedzielski referred to the statement of Piotr Pisula, a doctor in the neurosurgery department of the Franciszek Raszei municipal hospital in Poznań, who reported that on August 2 and 3, patients after spine surgeries did not receive painkillers at home. – No patient could issue such a prescription – said Pisula.
“We checked. Yesterday, the doctor issued a prescription for a drug from the group of psychotropic and analgesic drugs. These are the FACTS” – said Niedzielski.
“Shock. I’m speechless”
Pisula – a member of the presidium of the District Medical Council of the Greater Poland Chamber of Physicians – was a guest of the Friday program “#BezKitu Campaign”. When asked what he felt when he saw Niedzielski’s entry, he said that “mostly shock”. – I was speechless at first, and then I have to say that (I felt – ed.) a lot of anxiety, actually also sadness – he admitted.
– My relatives ask if the Minister of Health is so interested in me, is there any danger to me? Friends, friends, colleagues, doctors call with words of support, but they also ask about the “psychotropic” password and somewhere they wonder, seeing such a password, they think about what I can suffer from – he noted.
The doctor pointed out that “after such a statement, everyone may wonder if I am suffering from something, what medications I take”. “It’s about a painkiller, so it’s easier for me that much, but I have to say it’s overwhelming,” he said.
When asked whether he considered it a betrayal of medical confidentiality, Pisula replied that “formally, it seems that the minister, as he is not a doctor, is not bound by medical confidentiality.” – But it seems to me that this is a potential violation of Article 51 of the Constitution, which states that public authorities cannot manipulate citizens’ data in this way if they have no justification. And here, perhaps, such a violation occurred.
– We are analyzing this legal situation and we will see what happens next – announced the doctor.
1. No one may be obliged, other than pursuant to the Act, to disclose information concerning him/her. 2. Public authorities may not acquire, collect and share information about citizens other than necessary in a democratic state ruled by law. (…)
Will there be legal action?
When asked if he was considering taking legal action against the Minister of Health, Pisula replied: – Yes, it is. We are “hot”, so I myself, as I am not a lawyer, am not that well versed, but friends call and write, lawyers also talk to us, saying that such steps should actually be considered. – I am at the stage of analyzing what options I have and what action is best to take in this situation – he added.
The doctor pointed out that “in the 21st century, in a civilized country, this is simply unthinkable, it is unacceptable.” – This really shows that a high-ranking public official has the ability to check who receives what drugs, as part of his own, private needs – he noted.
– It seems to me that the minister probably does not have my PESEL number, so in fact the name and surname are enough, and in such a situation each person can be checked, because someone just wanted to check such a person – he pointed out.
“This may be an attempt to show such a signal, not only for me, but for all doctors”
The doctor admitted that “he did not expect that the IT system, which is built on the fact that everyone has a secret about their health that they can have, is so imperfect that another person can actually check it, and not in connection with providing health services”.
– In response to this tweet, I can say that it is one thing to issue a prescription pro auctore, i.e. for yourself, from the point of view of this system, and something else for patients. So what the minister wrote does not explain the situation at all and does not mean that we could not issue prescriptions and still often cannot – he explained.
According to Pisula, the actions of the Minister of Health “may be an attempt to show such a signal, not only for me, but for all doctors who talk loudly about problems and try to sound the alarm when something goes wrong, that ‘be careful because we have methods to try to stop you ‘”.
Supreme Medical Chamber: how do you feel about the system in which the ministry discloses medical data to the public?
The Supreme Medical Chamber, which is responsible for the supervision of the proper performance of the doctor’s profession, reacted to the entry of the Minister of Health. The entry noted that Niedzielski, who is not a doctor, “in retaliation checks what drugs and to whom this doctor issues and announces it on Twitter, breaking medical secrets.”
“How do you feel about the system in which the ministry publicly discloses the medical data of people who criticize its actions?” – asked.
The NIL entry was commented on by the spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Wojciech Andrusiewicz.
“The minister did not disclose sensitive information about the doctor, because no one looked at the doctor’s account because he has no right to do so,” he said. “The minister lied to the doctor on the basis of information from the system that records prescriptions for painkillers and psychotropic drugs. There is information about the issuing doctor, the drug and the patient without detailed information about the disease,” Andrusiewicz informed. “We noticed that a doctor issued a prescription pro auctore testing our system, verifying whether it works. It worked, the prescription passed, and yet the doctor publicly denied it. I emphasize that no one had access to anyone’s data, and the information concerns the doctor who tested the system and acted dishonestly by lying,” the Ministry of Health spokesman wrote.
Late in the evening, the Ministry of Health also commented on this case, assessing the accompanying comments as “emotional”.
“No one violated anyone’s privacy and had no access to sensitive data. We noticed that the doctor was testing our system, eventually issuing a prescription for himself. The system worked, and the doctor accused MZ of not issuing a prescription (original spelling – ed.)”.
Representatives of the medical community criticized this approach to commenting on the case.
The Residents’ Agreement wrote, among other things, that the “emotions” about which the resort writes “are only a consequence of your misguided ideas that put the health and lives of patients at risk”. “When, under the pretext of fighting various problems, you attack doctors working in public health care and their patients, and not the sources of the above-mentioned problems, huge chaos arises and emotions actually accumulate” – the doctors emphasized in the comment.
There were also more comments from experts.
Main photo source: TVN24