The medics protesting in front of the prime minister’s office said that they did not intend to close the “white town” until their demands were met and that they were waiting for a meeting with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. – There are still no representatives of the government in this dialogue – they emphasized. As they reported at the evening press conference on Sunday, about 5,000 people visited the “white town” that day.
“White Town 2.0”, as the organizers call it, was set up in Warsaw’s Aleje Ujazdowskie, near the Chancellery of the Prime Minister on the other side of the street, immediately after Saturday’s protest by healthcare workers. This form of protest alludes to the nurses’ white town in summer 2007.
Sunday in the White Town was a day devoted to the subject of nursing and obstetrics. The protesting medics provided the interested parties with advice in this field.
Protesters about the “white town”
At the evening press conference, they summarized that about 5,000 people visited the town that day – those who were interested in the medics’ advice: workshops and preventive examinations, as well as those who came to express their support for their demands.
The protesters once again stressed that they would not leave the Chancellery of the Prime Minister until their demands were met. Speaking of nursing and obstetrics in Poland, they assessed that it is in a dramatic situation – the average age of a nurse in Poland is 53 years. An insufficient number of new people enter the profession in the public health service, it is about 2,500 people out of 5,500 educating in this field. The rest – as they explained – find employment in private health care or abroad.
According to the protesters, this is because these people want to earn a decent income, and employment in public institutions does not allow them to do so. Medics also pointed out that the average mortality age for nurses is very low, at 60 years.
– Today “White Town” has become what we wanted it to be. It has become a meeting place for patients and medics, today it has been a place of dialogue. There is only one problem, there is still a lack of government representatives in this dialogue, and most of all the prime minister. We look forward to meeting the prime minister. When will we finally be taken seriously? – said one of the protesters at the evening conference.
“We will take up these heavy topics”
Wojciech Szaraniec, the chairman of the Resident Alliance, announced that Monday will be the day of psychiatry, including psychiatry of children and adolescents. – We will talk about the staff shortages in Polish psychiatry. At the same time, we have a dramatic situation with regard to child suicides. Tomorrow we will take up these difficult topics – he announced.
On Monday, representatives of the Foundation for Children with Diabetes will also conduct individual dietary consultations and workshops on “How to eat well. How to recognize early symptoms of diabetes in a child”.
The organizers of the “white town” also informed that about 30 people would stay overnight. In the following days, representatives of the next competitions will probably join the overnight stays, including physiotherapists and electroradiology technicians – they announced.
The “white town” program is initially scheduled for Saturday, September 18th. Every day, in addition to conferences and panels devoted to individual areas of health care and postulates, free preventive examinations, such as blood pressure or blood sugar measurements, and workshops for doctors or patients will also be conducted there.
The National Protesting and Strike Committee of Healthcare Workers presented eight demands, including an immediate amendment to the act on the method of determining the lowest remuneration; real increase in the valuation of benefits, lump sums and the so-called ambulances; providing medical professions with the status of a public official; or the introduction of sick leave after 15 years of professional work.
According to the Ministry of Health, the total cost of meeting the demands put forward by the protesting meditations is PLN 26.05 billion this year, and PLN 104.7 billion next year. Health Minister Adam Niedzielski invited protesting medics to talks on Tuesday based on specific estimates of the submitted demands.
Main photo source: PAP / Tomasz Gzell