Poland HiT (2019)



Governance of the public health system is divided between the Minister of Health and three levels of territorial self-government. This fragmentation helps explain the slow progress in tackling important and longstanding problems and imbalances, such as high hospital bed numbers and hospital debt, and related to this, an overreliance on hospital care compared to community-based care.

Certain health indicators have improved but remain behind the EU averages and major challenges are mounting

Life expectancy at birth has been increasing but remains three years lower than the EU average. Likewise, preventable and treatable mortality rates have decreased but are much higher than the average rates in the EU. Health challenges include high rates of obesity, a rising burden of mental disorders and population ageing, and are likely to increase demand for health and social care.

There are major imbalances in the structure of both physical and human health resources

Provision of care remains skewed towards inpatient care and there are acute shortages of both doctors and nurses. These structural imbalances will continue to pose a major challenge for the effective delivery of care.

The government has committed to increase the share of public expenditure on health to 6% of GDP by 2024

In 2017, Poland devoted 6.7% of its GDP to health, a share that was lower than in most EU Member States. Private financing (mainly out-of-pocket spending) accounts for 30% of current spending on health and its role is much larger in Poland than in most EU Member States. However, the government has pledged to increase public spending from 4.6% of GDP in 2017 to 6% by 2024. This will present an opportunity to address the mounting health challenges as well as tackle the longstanding problems and structural imbalances.