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The progress in Polish health care that has been made over the last 20 years is “unprecedented”

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20 years is a long time, and 20 years of Poland in the European Union means a lot of changes in many areas. In health care, for example, these changes are visible to the naked eye.

Professor Tadeusz Orłowski showed us how, during bronchoscopy, tissue was collected from the patient with forceps for examination at the Institute of Lung Diseases in Warsaw, even before Poland's accession to the European Union. Everything looks different there now.

– When we showed these forceps, since then there has been a major renovation and major investment at the institute, and I think that the funds that came to Poland were used throughout Poland – says Professor Tadeusz Orłowski, head of the Department of Surgery at the Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases.

“Without the EU, we would actually be in the same position as the eastern countries”

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EU funds were used both in hospitals and in family doctors' offices. – Without the EU, we would actually be in the same position as the eastern countries. The progress that has been made is incredible – admits Marek Twardowski, vice-president of the Zielona Góra Agreement. Even before Poland joined the EU, he fought together with other doctors to improve the situation in health care.

This was before computerization. The documentation was only on paper, and diagnostic imaging consisted only of illuminated films with X-ray photos. Dental treatment involved amalgam and pain.

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“Europe Stop”. On-site assistance. Thanks to EU money, a hospital was built in Siedlce

Dietl Hospital in Krakow is now unrecognizable. It has been renovated, the hospital emergency department has a ramp for ambulances, and the ambulances themselves have been replaced. The EU forced all this on us.

– On the one hand, of course, we are talking about the 112 telephone, which is an EU regulation that encourages member states to use it, integrate it and so on. On the other hand, there were additional funds that were released to support the system that we, as Poland, were building, says Andrzej Ryś, Deputy Minister of Health in 1999-2002.

Medical academies have turned into universities, nurses must have higher education

EU regulations and money meant that outdated ventilation and crank beds quickly began to disappear from Polish operating rooms.

– The whole leap in these 20 years in Europe is huge, not only in terms of equipment, not only what we do, but even training – admits Professor Kazimierz Suwalski, consultant of the Cardiac Surgery Clinic of the Central Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration .

We simply caught up with Europe, or perhaps Europe helped us catch up. Medical academies have turned into universities, nurses starting work must have higher education. All changes are difficult to quantify.

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– Our future doctors and nurses are educated certainly no worse than in Western countries. We are very careful about this and all this is possible thanks to funds from the European Union – says Wojciech Maksymowicz, Minister of Health in 1997-1999 in the government of Solidarity Electoral Action. He and all his successor ministers – and, in fact, all health care workers – prepared the system for entry into the EU. The joint effort brought results.

Main photo source: TVN24

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