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Improving the Health-Care System in Poland


Author Info

  • Hervé Boulhol
  • Agnieszka Sowa
  • Stanislawa Golinowska
  • Patrizio Sicari


Since the transformation following the Communist era, Poland has matched improvements in health outcomes of the most developed OECD countries, although without catching up the ground lost during the 1970s and 1980s. The health status of the population remains relatively poor, although after controlling for per capita income health outcomes are only slightly below the OECD average. The Polish health-care system is characterised by low spending, a heavily regulated public system with a stringent budget constraint, restricted sub-national government autonomy and a thin private insurance market. Heavy out-of-pocket payments and long waiting lists generate inequalities in access to care. The most pressing issues to be addressed concern: easing the substantial limitations in access to care; reducing persistent inequalities; carefully designing new private health insurance; better coordinating among major public actors; improving hospital management; strengthening the gate-keeping function played by generalists; and developing a comprehensive long-term-care strategy. This Working Paper relates to the 2012 OECD Economic Review of Poland ( Améliorer le système de soins de santé en Pologne Depuis qu’elle a opéré sa transformation post-communiste, la Pologne a enregistré des progrès comparables à ceux des pays de l’OCDE les plus développés dans le domaine de la santé, sans toutefois parvenir à regagner le terrain perdu au cours des années 70 et 80. L’état de santé de la population reste relativement mauvais même si, après contrôle du revenu par habitant, les indicateurs de santé ne sont que légèrement inférieurs aux moyennes de l’OCDE. Le système de santé de la Pologne se caractérise par de faibles dépenses, un système public fortement réglementé et assujetti à des contraintes budgétaires strictes, une autonomie limitée des autorités infrarégionales et un marché de l’assurance privée peu développé. Les dépenses élevées laissées à la charge des patients et les longues listes d’attente engendrent des inégalités d’accès aux soins. Les priorités les plus pressantes sont les suivantes : alléger les lourdes restrictions d’accès aux soins ; réduire les inégalités persistantes ; mettre en place de nouvelles formules d’assurance-maladie privée soigneusement conçues ; mieux coordonner les principaux acteurs publics ; améliorer la gestion des hôpitaux ; renforcer la fonction de filtrage des médecins généralistes ; et élaborer une stratégie complète en matière de soins de longue durée. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l’Étude économique de l’OCDE de la Pologne 2012 (

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 957.

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Date of creation: 10 May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:957-en

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Keywords: Poland; pharmaceuticals; physicians; waiting lists; hospitals; health care system; health-care insurance; hôpitaux; docteurs; assurance médicale; listes d’attente; système de santé; médicaments; Pologne;

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Cited by:
  1. M. Brzeziński & B. Jancewicz & Natalia Letki, 2013. "GINI Country Report: Growing Inequalities and their Impacts in Poland," GINI Country Reports poland, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.


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