On Saturday, the protesting health workers walked through the streets of Warsaw in front of the Prime Minister’s office. They are demanding higher wages and system changes. The demonstrators had banners with slogans such as “we live a short time because we work hard”. – Prime Minister, you did everything and maybe more to bring the medics to the limit of their endurance – said Dorota Gardias, president of the Trade Unions Forum, addressing the head of government. In front of the prime minister’s office, the so-called white town 2.0 was created.
Healthcare workers from all over Poland gathered in the morning in the area of Krasiński Square in Warsaw, from where they passed in front of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. On the way, they stopped in front of the Ministry of Health, the Presidential Palace and the Sejm.
Before the Sejm, a minute of silence was honored for patients who lost their lives – as a representative of the medical community said – “due to failures of the health care system”. “Here’s the change, it starts there,” she said.
Medics with banners. “We invite you to the wards, because we are closing soon”
The protesters had banners with such slogans as: “We live shortly because we work hard”, “We invite you to the wards, because we are closing soon”, “The pandemic of shortages of nurses and midwives has been going on for years”, “We are dying 20 years earlier than other Polish women. “,” We demand decent earnings “,” There is no medicine without diagnostics “,” In Poland, there are 24 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants. There are no medics – there is no treatment. Beds do not heal “,” Politicians! Do not make slaves of medics! “.
Most of the protesters wore white T-shirts, and the nurses also wore professional caps with velvet tape. They chanted, among others: “Public health protection of the death”, “Heal or kill him”, “There are no medics, there is no treatment”.
“The husband, a paramedic, is a poverty in the family.”
One of the protesters showed a banner: “Husband, a paramedic is poverty in the family.” – I will not say how much we earn, but we earn too little – he admitted in an interview with TVN24.
– We create the entire system. No paramedics, no doctor who will work at the HED, no nurse who will work in the ward, it makes no sense – another paramedic who was present at the protest told TVN24. When asked about the specter of the upcoming fourth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic, he replied: – Looking at the infections, we will not miss it. – As for the conditions, there is no such shock anymore, but the system has now crashed, it has simply crashed, he assessed.
Healthcare expenses “are too low”
Jacek Gawłowski, a representative of the District Council of Nurses and Midwives in Kielce, who participated in the protest, emphasized that “the expenditure on health care has been too low for many years”. – It is not only about salaries, but also about new methods of treatment and access to health care services – he stressed. Referring to the wage postulates, he argued that “the recent wage regulations caused inequalities”. – People with many years of experience and experience earn much less than people entering the profession – he said.
Gawłowski also pointed to the protesters’ demand to “restore what was before the pandemic, or increase employment standards for both nurses and all other medical professions that are missing on the market.” According to him, this should be related to the education of a larger number of nurses and midwives, in particular.
Nurse: Patient’s welfare is a priority
– For us, apart from the procedures important for nurses and midwives, the patient’s well-being is our priority. We mean a fair valuation of benefits. Our patients often stay in our hospital for a long time, and it turns out that the cost of this procedure is minimal. This can not be. We should look at it globally – a nurse from Busko-Zdrój told TVN24.
On pointing out that Minister Niedzielski said that the medics’ expectations were “completely unreal”, the nurse replied: – Apparently, the minister is unreal. You should go to the counties, to people from the so-called backwater and ask what the needs are.
One of the physiotherapists present at the protest said in an interview with TVN24 that they expect the government to “fairly evaluate medical services and ensure that the patient does not have to wait months for treatments”. He noted that more and more physiotherapists are switching to the private sector.
Protesting physiotherapists they carried puppets depicting skeletons in coffins and in wheelchairs next to them, “Mateusz, 53, did not receive physical therapy …” – they wrote on the banner.
Michał Bulsa to the minister of health: it is impossible to heal or live here
In his speech to the Ministry of Health, Michał Bulsa, head of the Committee for Young Doctors of the Supreme Medical Council, who spoke to the Ministry of Health, said that “all the ideas that the Minister of Health has come up with in recent years are from outer space, unreal”. – The most important thing for any medic is the patient. It is important that he is safe, but for the patient to be safe, the medic must be safe. He must earn a decent income, he must have good working conditions and must not be afraid of the prosecutor – he mentioned.
– Minister, you probably hear us: we invite you to talk to the prime minister, because it is impossible to heal or live here – he said.
“The health system stops”
– We did not get divided, we are together – said the representative of the Polish Society of Medical Rescuers, thanking the teaching community and other professional groups for their support.
– The health care system stops, hospital emergency departments are closing, ambulances are not leaving. There is a lack of financial resources in the health care system, there is a lack of organization and decisions. The profession of a paramedic is waiting for its laws, for its self-government – he described.
A representative of the Polish Association of Medical Technicians of Electroradiology said that “we were not divided by the unfair law on the minimum wage.” – Let’s not be shared any further. We are together, we are trying to convey to our minister a few simple demands that the minister does not want to accept from us. We want to heal the health service, together, together – she added.
– Give us the same salaries as workers in the European Union – she emphasized.
“We are doing it for you so that there are more medics in health care”
One of the representatives of nurses and midwives spoke in front of the Presidential Palace. – We are doing it for you, so that there are more medics in health care. One of the demands is to increase the number of employees – she said.
– Do you know that the Polish nurse is 53 years old? Do you know that the Polish midwife is 51 years old? You know that we live shorter and shorter, we die faster. A Polish nurse lives on average 62 years, and a Polish woman – 81 years. Do we want this? – she pointed out.
Dorota Gardias: There is no more time for superficial cardboard reforms
Speeches were also held in front of the Prime Minister’s office. – Pay the government for treatment, not a discount. The government has been paying almost the same for the treatment of Poles for ten years – said Artur Drobniak, president of the Supreme Medical Chamber.
Dorota Gardias, president of the Trade Unions Forum, asked Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. – Prime Minister, you did everything and maybe more to bring the medics to the limit of their endurance – she said.
She also turned to the participants of the march. – This is a fight for the truth, we have to fight this fight not only in the streets, but also in hospitals and local governments – assessed Gardias.
According to her, “there is no more time for superficial cardboard reforms, there is no time for political scuffles, for PR plays, every second counts.”
Alina Niewiadomska, the president of the National Council of Laboratory Diagnosticians, said that her profession is highly staffed and its representatives are exhausted.
White Town 2.0.
In front of the prime minister’s office, the so-called white town 2.0 was created. – Today, in the place where we originally planned to put up our tents, there are barriers and the police, but we are not discouraged because our gathering is reported on the green belt. Here the rescuers are already standing with their tent, AgroUnia is already standing with its tent. Those of you who want to stay with us simply stay here – at the fence at Łazienki (Królewskie). We will sit here for a long time and talk. We stay here as long as we fulfill our demands, said Piotr Pisula, a representative of the Alliance of Residents.
The minister of health calculates the costs of medics’ demands and invites them to talks
Representatives of the Healthcare Protesting and Strike Committee interrupted their meeting with the minister of health and ministry officials on Friday, because Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki did not appear. They stressed that they needed a “decision maker” during the negotiations.
On Saturday, a few hours before the start of the demonstration on the profile of the Ministry of Health it was announced that the Minister of Health, Adam Niedzielski, was inviting medics to talks “based on specific estimates of complex demands.” According to the proposal, the meeting would be held on Tuesday at 2 pm at the “Dialog” Social Partnership Center in Warsaw. According to the letter posted by the Ministry of Health, the invitation was sent to the chairwoman of the National Trade Union of Nurses and Midwives Krystyna Ptok and the vice-president of the Supreme Medical Council, Artur Drobniak.
The Ministry also added a table with specific calculations to the entry. The Ministry of Health estimates that meeting the demands of medics this year would cost a total of PLN 26.05 billion and PLN 104.7 billion next year.
On Friday, the National Protest and Strike Committee for Healthcare Workers recalled its demands. These include: immediate amendment to the Act on how to determine the minimum wage; real increase in the valuation of benefits, lump sums and the so-called ambulances, as well as the employment of additional administrative and support staff and the introduction of employment standards depending on the number of patients.
The Committee also calls for medical professionals to be granted the status of a public official and a system to protect employees against verbal and physical aggression by patients; the introduction of sick leave after 15 years of professional work, as well as the enactment of laws on laboratory medicine, the profession of paramedic and other medical professions.
1. Immediate amendment to the act on the method of determining the lowest basic salary of certain employees employed in healthcare entities and certain other acts. 2. A real increase in the valuation of medical services and lump sums by 30%. and ambulance services in the State Medical Rescue system by 80 percent. from October 1, 2021 and AOTMiT’s obligation to re-evaluate all benefits until November 30, 2022. 3. Employment of additional administrative staff and support staff (medical secretaries, registrars, medical guardians) and the introduction of employment standards depending on the number of patients. 4. Providing medical professions with the status of a public official and creating a system of protecting employees against verbal and physical aggression of patients. 5. Establishing an appropriate no-fault medical event recording system on conditions that protect medics and patients. 6. Resignation from creating new medical professions with a simultaneous more effective use of the current medical professions by providing them with postgraduate and specialization training opportunities, extending their competences. 7. Introducing sick leave after 15 years of professional work. 8. Passing laws on laboratory medicine, the profession of paramedic and other medical professions.
Main photo source: PAP / Tomasz Gzell