WROmigrant – Medical care
There are both public and private health care in Poland. Everyone employed under an employment contract, contract of mandate or self-employed person is obliged to pay health insurance contributions. When you enter into an agreement with your employer, they are obliged to report you to the health insurance and pay contributions for you. In this way you can benefit from free medical care. However, you will need to wait for some examinations and visits to specialists due to queues, so sometimes people choose the services of private doctors. In an emergency life threatening situation, specialists will provide you with immediate assistance in the admission rooms and hospital emergency departments. PESEL number makes it much easier to use your free medical care. In this chapter of our guide you will find out:
- what is included in Public Medical Care – National Health Fund (NFZ);
- what are the obligatory vaccinations in Poland;
- who provides health care during the night and holidays;
- how private healthcare works;
- where to look for help in life-threatening situations;- what international agreements on social security are in force in Poland;
- how to contact the Patients’ Ombudsman;
- what is health prevention;
- where to seek help in case of domestic violence;
- where to get psychiatric assistance.
Public Medical Care – National Health Fund (NFZ)
In Poland, the National Health Fund (NFZ) is the institution responsible for financing and providing public health services. Contributions for compulsory health insurance are paid through a public organisational unit – the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS).
Foreigners coming to Poland can benefit from public health services provided that they apply to the National Health Fund. This is usually done through the employer.
All persons employed in Poland (on a contract of employment or mandate), including foreigners, are subject to the obligation of health insurance. When you start working, your employer reports you as an employed person, which means that your monthly salary will automatically be paid into the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS). Remember that in case of termination of employment, the insurance ends 30 days after the termination of the employment contract. If you have your own business, you have to pay the appropriate contributions to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) on time.
As a rule, treatment of a person insured in the National Health Fund is free of charge (it is financed from medical insurance funds). In some cases, however, you may have to pay for some services. The National Health Fund does not finance benefits that are not included in the lists of guaranteed benefits set forth in the Ordinance of the Minister of Health.
Remember! If you do not have the insurance of the National Health Fund and go to hospital,you will have to pay the full cost of treatment.
Voluntary insurance with the National Health Fund
If you are staying in Poland without a valid health insurance, you should consider the option of voluntary insurance with the National Health Fund in order to avoid the costs of hospital treatment in case of sudden illness or accident. For that to happen, submit an application to the National Health Fund (in one of the branches near your place of residence).In order to sign an agreement with the National Health Fund, if you are from the outside of the EU, in addition to your passport you must also have your visa or a residence permit.
After signing an agreement with the National Health Fund, you must go to Social Insurance Institution and submit a ZUS ZZA form. Information about the amount of the contributions as well as the date of payment date can be obtained from the National Health Fund branch.
Remember that citizens of EU countries who have not yet taken up work or have lost their jobs can register with the Labour Office as unemployed and get insurance for themselves and their children. You will need to present the certificate of insurance from the Labour Office when you register with a doctor.
Choosing a clinic and doctor
The whole procedure of visiting the doctor at the clinic will be faster if you provide your PESEL number (PESEL procedure, see Chapter 2). If you do not have a PESEL number, you can register for a visit by submitting your passport or residence card.
After you register with the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS), you must register with the appropriate clinic. In other words, in order to receive medical care, it is not enough for the employer to report to the Social Insurance Institution alone. It is also necessary for you to choose a doctor called a primary care physician. Take your passport, residence card and proof of payment of contributions to the clinic you choose (you will receive it from your employer). Fill in the application form on the spot and register to take full advantage of your insurance. It is best to choose a clinic near your place of residence, checking beforehand whether the institution has a contract with the National Health Fund (NFZ).
When registering at a selected clinic, it is worth remembering that health services provided to an insured person may also be used by members of their immediate family (children, spouses, parents, grandparents), if they are not insured under any other title (such information should be reported to the employer in order for your family to be included in your insurance and when choosing a National Health Fund institution).
Choosing a doctor/nurse/midwife:
As an insured person in the National Health Fund, you have the right to choose a facility, doctor, nurse and midwife of basic health care. This choice is evidenced by the so-called declaration of choice, which is usually completed on the spot at the clinic. Ask a the person in charge of the registration to help you fill it in.
The family doctor, the internist and the paediatrician
Patients often do not know that the family doctor, internist and paediatrician are doctors of different specialisations. The scope of family medicine is slightly wider than that of an internist or paediatrician. The family doctor can provide health services and advice to both adults and children. The paediatrician only takes care of the children. An internist only deals with adults.
Remember that children attending a Polish school are entitled to free health care under the NFZ.
As a student you can also voluntarily insure yourself in the National Health Fund and benefit from free health care.
How to sign a contract with the National Health Fund?
- First, obtain your student status document from the Dean’s Office.
- Then go to the appropriate branch of the National Health Fund – Lower Silesia Branch of the National Health Fund, Insurance Service Centre (ul. Dawida 2 in Wrocław, tel. +48 71 797 91 32). Bring the following documents with you:
- a certificate from a higher education institution confirming the status of a student,
- student ID,
- When you are there – fill in the application form for voluntary insurance.
- Come to the branch on the date set by the National Health Fund to sign a voluntary insurance agreement.
- After signing the agreement, within 7 days register at the branch or inspection of the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) by submitting a ZUS ZZA blank form (“Application for health insurance”).
A student who has signed an agreement for insurance and pays contributions on time has the right to receive medical care in the territory of Poland in points which have signed a contract with the National Health Fund for providing medical assistance (there is an appropriate marking with the “NFZ” inscription in such clinics).
Going to the doctor, you must have a copy of the agreement with the National Health Fund with you, as well as a blank application form for the Social Insurance Institution and a confirmation of the last month’s contribution fee.
The addresses of the Social Insurance Institution branches in Wrocław can be found here: www.zus.pl/o-zus/kontakt/oddzialy-inspektoraty-biura-terenowe.
You can also sign insurance agreement with private insurance agencies. You can choose any package of services, depending on your needs and financial capabilities.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a card that will serve you to confirm your right to receive basic health care at the expense of the National Health Fund during a temporary stay in another EU/EFTA member state. In order to obtain an EHIC card, you must be insured with the National Health Fund and be a citizen of one of the EU countries. The EHIC card cannot be used by third country (non-EU) nationals. During their stay abroad, persons from outside the EU can only purchase additional travel insurance from commercial insurance companies.
Remember to make sure that the medical facility you go to outside the Republic of Poland operates within the public health system of that country.
How do I get an EHIC card
- Fill in the EHIC application form. Remember that the application should be signed by you or an authorised person.
You can find templates of applications here: obywatel.gov.pl/ochrona-zdrowia-i-ubezpieczenia-spoleczne/ekuz-wniosek-o-europejska-karte-ubezpieczenia-zdrowotnego.
- Scan the signed application and save it in the PDF format.
- Attach the necessary documents:
- scan of a valid school or student ID or, if there are no such documents, scan of a certificate confirming that you are a student;
- scanned A1 document from the Social Insurance Institution (if your trip is work-related);
- scan of U2 document from the Employment Agency (if you are unemployed and you are going abroad to look for work).
- Send your application together with documents to the branch of the National Health Fund competent for your place of residence. Find your National Health Fund branch on the following website: ekuz.nfz.gov.pl/hidden_main_page/kontakt.
- Wait for the card to be ready or visit the National Health Fund branch to collect it.
You can also obtain a Temporary Replacement Certificate for the European Health Insurance Card if:
- for some reason you did not manage to obtain an EHIC card before you left Poland or forgot to apply for one, and you must confirm your right to health services;
- the EHIC card has been stolen, lost or destroyed.
More information in Polish, English, Italian, French, German, Spanish and Spanish, visit the following website: www.ekuz.nfz.gov.pl/en/info_dla_uprawnionych_z_innych/general-information-concerning-access-health-care-during-temporary-st
It is worth knowing that in Poland vaccinations are obligatory. It applies to:
- children and youth up to the age of 19;
- persons from a group of higher risk of disease (students of medical universities, veterinary or health care staff).
Also foreigners under 19 years of age staying on the territory of the Republic of Poland for more than 3 months, regardless of the purpose of their stay, should undergo mandatory protective vaccinations.
Mandatory vaccinations shall be carried out against:
- pneumococcal infections
- polio (poliomyelitis)
- infections against Haemophilus influenzae type B
- hepatitis B.
The vaccination calendar is available on the following website in Polish and English: szczepienia.pzh.gov.pl/en/immunisation-schedule
Mandatory vaccinations are free of charge. If you do not want to be vaccinated with the vaccine offered by the Ministry of Health, you can bring a vaccine purchased by yourself to the clinic.
In addition to the mandatory vaccinations, vaccination against the following disease is also recommended:
- tick-borne encephalitis
- hepatitis A
- meningococcal infection
- rotavirus infection.
To be vaccinated, you must get a prescription from your doctor, then buy a vaccine from a pharmacy and bring it to the clinic.
The obligation to vaccinate includes both Poles and foreigners. Lack of mandatory vaccinations in a person subject to them may result in the imposition of a fine.
Basic healthcare during night-time and holidays
This assistance is provided from 18:00 to 8:00 on weekdays and around the clock on public holidays. You can use it in the following situations:
- there are no symptoms suggesting an imminent threat to life or significant damage to health;
- the home remedies or over-the-counter medicines used did not deliver the expected improvement;
- there is a threat that waiting for the opening of a clinic may have a significant adverse effect on your health.
In night-time and holiday health care centres, you have the right to obtain a certificate stating the extent of the assistance provided to you. The obligation to issue a certificate of incapacity for work shall (the so called sick leave or L4) rest with the doctor who establishes such incapacity.
You can seek basic healthcare during night-time and holidays here:
Dolnośląski Szpital Specjalistyczny im. T. Marciniaka
ul. Fieldorfa 2
tel. +48 71 306 42 22
Wojewódzki Szpital Specjalistyczny
ul. Kamieńskiego 73a
tel. +48 71 32 70 536
Wojewódzki Szpital Specjalistyczny im. J. Gromkowskiego
ul. Koszarowa 551-149 Wrocław
tel. +48 71 395 76 07
Szpital Specjalistyczny im A. Falkiewicza
ul. Warszawska 2
tel. +48 71 37 74 116
Private medical care
There are many private medical facilities in Wrocław offering a wide range of health services for a fee. You can easily find them using a search engine. Their offer is used by many citizens of Wrocław.
The main advantage of private health care is often the fact that you can register with a doctor who speaks your language. Private clinics inform about the languages spoken by the doctors they employ on their websites. You can also purchase a private medical policy to help you access private medical care.
Assistance in life-threatening situations
This type of assistance is provided in a life-threatening state of emergency when there are signs of deterioration in health, the direct consequence of which may be serious damage to the body’s functions, bodily injury or loss of life.
In an emergency life threatening situation, specialists will provide you with immediate assistance in the admission rooms and hospital emergency departments.
Remember: Call an ambulance only if you are in immediate danger of death or you have observed sudden, serious deterioration in your health! If this is not the case, you should seek the help of your family doctor. If this is not the case, you should seek the help of your family doctor. To call for help, call 999 or 112 and provide the operator with the following information:
- the location of the event (address, location, landmarks);
- information on who needs help and in what condition he/she is;
- your name and surname.
If you are employed in Poland and have insurance at work, it is enough to give your PESEL number. If you do not have the PESEL number, you should have a proof of insurance with you (insurance policy or ZUS ZUA – issued at the employee’s request every month) and show it during registration for verification. If you are not insured at work and do not have a private insurance policy, emergency assistance will be given to you but you will have to pay for it.
Addresses of the emergency rooms in Wrocław (open 24/7):
Wojewódzki Zespół Specjalistyczny Opieki Medycznej Dobrzyńska – Ambulatorium chirurgiczne (dislocations, fractures, cuts)
Main number: +48 71 774 77 00Registration: +48 71 774 77 03 to 707
SOR 4. Wojskowy Szpital Kliniczny z Polikliniką SPZOZ
Hospital’s Emergency Ward: +48 71 76 60 208, 261 660 130 (registration, medical triage)
SOR Uniwersytecki Szpital Kliniczny we Wrocławiu
Information: +48 71 733 11 10 7:30 – 15:00 Hospital’s Emergency Ward: +48 71 733 29 64
SOR Wojewódzki Szpital Specjalistyczny we Wrocławiu
phone number: +48 71 32 70 100
SOR Dolnośląski Szpital Specjalistyczny im. T. Marciniaka
phone number: +48 71 306 44 19
Hospital admission point: +48 71 306 42 21 to 22 Hospital’s Emergency Ward – information/registration: +48 71 306 43 04
Klinika Chirurgii i Urologii Dziecięcej w SPSK1
(surgical outpatient department)
phone number: +48 71 770 30 15
Wojewódzki Szpital Specjalistyczny im. J. Gromkowskiego
Koszarowa 5, building A3, ground floor
phone number: +48 71 39 25 338
Oddział Chirurgii Dziecięcej – Dolnośląski Szpital Specjalistyczny, im. Marciniaka
ul. Fieldorfa 2
tel. (doctor on duty): +48 71 305 44 05
Admission points are responsible for providing medical assistance, medical consultations, preliminary diagnostics and all formalities related to the admission of patients. Admission points are marked and located in the buildings of individual hospitals. You can find their addresses on the websites of individual hospitals and health care facilities.
International agreements on social security
Thanks to bilateral international social security agreements, citizens who have worked in the territory of two countries that have signed such agreements are entitled to social benefits (pensions, sickness benefits) in both countries.
If you belong to a group of people from a country with which the agreement has been concluded, you can work in both countries without fear of losing your future pension rights.
The list of countries with which the Republic of Poland has such an agreement is available under the following address: www.zus.pl/o-zus/wspolpraca-miedzynarodowa-zus/umowy-miedzynarodowe-o-zabezpieczeniu-spolecznym
The Patients Ombudsman of the Lower Silesia Province Department of the National Health Fund is the central body of government administration that is responsible for protecting patients’ rights. Patients’ Ombudsman ul. Dawida 2 50-525 Wrocław phone number: +48 71 797 91 48 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Preventive health care
An important part of health care is preventative health care, i.e. actions to prevent diseases, through their early detection and treatment, and to consolidate and promote proper patterns of a healthy lifestyle.
Prevention of breast cancer
In Poland, breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. Therefore, a systematic, monthly breast self-examination and periodic oncological consultation is recommended.
In Wrocław, educational activities are conducted by the so-called Health Education Centres, in which you can learn self-examination for free, as well as undergo breast examination.
The breast examination is painless. If a nurse/midwife identifies changes in the breast gland that require medical consultation, she refers the woman for further specialist diagnosis at the Breast Disease Diagnostic Centre.
Health Education Points are located in medical facilities in Wrocław. The list of points can be found on the following website: www.odchp.pl.
Ośrodek Diagnostyki Chorób Piersi
phone number: +48 71 368 95 71
Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 14:00.
The systematic self-examination of breasts, combined with periodic specialist diagnostics, guarantees early detection of lesions and prevents the development of breast cancer. Participation in the program is free of charge.
Detailed information on the programme is available on the following website: www.odchp.pl.
Prevention of diabetes
For people with diabetes, Wrocław provides health education combined with learning how to self-control sugar levels, insulin administration and self-observation and prevention of diabetes complications. This educational program can be attended by children, young people and adults living in Wrocław, who are at risk of diabetes, suffering from diabetes and other metabolic disorders, and their families and carers.
Participation in the programme is free of charge. Detailed information on the programme is available on the following website: spzoz.wroc.pl/programy-zdrowotne/program-profilaktyki-cukrzycy.
Centrum Edukacji Diabetologicznej
phone number: +48 71 341 76 57
In case of complications of diabetes concerning vascular changes of the so-called “diabetic foot”, health education is provided by a nurse and a cosmetologist.
Centrum Medyczne Dobrzyńska
phone number: + 48 71 774 77 57
additional information: telephone registration open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday,
Friday from 7:30 to 14:30, Wednesday from 11:30 to 18:30.
Helping people suffering from domestic violence
There are organisations in Wrocław that provide free of charge psychological and legal assistance for persons experiencing domestic violence – both children and adults. Specialists provide psychological support, inform about rights and forms of assistance, and help to find a solution in a difficult situation. If you are a person who has suffered domestic violence, let yourself to be helped.
Psychological and legal assistance is provided by:
scope of assistance: psychological and legal (also provided in English and Russian)
“Non Licet” Foundation
phone number: + 48 71 361 97 70
scope of assistance: psychological and legal help
“Dajmy Szansę” Foundation
address: ul. Piłsudskiego 95 (1st floor)
phone number: + 48 71 346 88 20
scope of assistance: legal and psychological help
Psychological assistance together with therapy for families is provided by:
“Neuromed” – Neuropsychiatry Centre
address: ul. Białowieska 74A
phone numbers: + 48 71 355 35 94, + 48 71 350 17 30, + 48 71 350 17 80
scope of assistance: psychological and therapeutic for help for families
If you need psychiatrist’s help, please contact the Lower Silesian Centre for Mental Health (Dolnośląskie Centrum Zdrowia Psychicznego). The Centre helps people with emotional problems, in a mental health crisis or with experience of mental illness, as well as their families or relatives. Those in need will find comprehensive assistance at the Centre, tailored to their individual needs. Team of specialists will propose an action and treatment plan that will help to recover from the crisis and return to the social roles that patients have previously played.
“Dolnośląskie Centrum Zdrowia Psychicznego” sp. z o. o. Wybrzeże J. Conrada-Korzeniowskiego 18
50-226 Wrocław phone number: +48 71 77 66 200 (headquarters)+48 71 77 66 240+48 519 319 458 (emergencies)e-mail: email@example.com