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Poland doctors demand better pay, hike in funding for health care system

Hundreds of young physicians have held a protest rally in the Polish capital, Warsaw, to express solidarity with doctors on hunger strike and to demand higher pay and increased funding for the European country’s chronically strapped health care system.
Hundreds of doctors, medical students and supporters convened in front of Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo’s office on Saturday, in a show of support for some 20 resident doctors who have been on hunger strike at a Warsaw children’s hospital for the past two weeks.
The strikers say health care budget is insufficient, demanding an increase in health care expenditure to a minimum of 6.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) over the next three years.
They also want a reduction in bureaucracy, an increase in the number of medical workers, an improvement in working conditions and a raise in salaries. Doctors also called for shorter waiting lists for patients, saying there are month-long waits for simple medical procedures.
The doctors had met with Premier Szydlo and Health Minister Konstanty Radziwill earlier this week, about which they said, “We felt we had not been treated seriously.”
The protesting physicians say they earn between PLN 2,200 and PLN 2,500 ($420) after tax reduction every month, working 80-100 hours per week. They also threatened that if their monthly salaries are not significantly increased, they would leave the country.