Healthcare in PolandThe UK has long had strong links to Poland, and since they joined the EU in 2004, the ties have grown closer. There are many UK citizens with Polish roots who return every year to see friends and family, and British holidaymakers who take advantage of budget flights to explore the Polish countryside. Being covered for medical emergencies when you are overseas is a sensible precaution, and the two main choices for cover are EHIC and additional travel insurance. The two are not interchangeable and have different features and benefits.
EHIC in PolandThe European Health Insurance Card has to be applied for before leaving the UK and will give you the same rights as a Polish person to access their state healthcare. The Polish equivalent of the NHS is the NFZ, so always look for this logo when visiting a doctor or hospital to ensure you are being seen under the public healthcare system.
Your first port of call for minor ailments and injuries should be a GP, and their offices are open similar hours to in the UK. Seeing a doctor is free of charge, and they will refer you to hospital if needed. In an emergency, go straight to a NFZ hospital and you will be seen free as an emergency case. All diagnostic tests, care and surgery will be provided free of charge if you are admitted to hospital.
Dental treatment is partly provided under the NFZ, and partly under the private sector. Always establish with your dentist on what basis you are being treated, and how much the course of treatment is likely to cost. There is also a nominal charge for prescription medicines depending on the item prescribed. In general, the Polish healthcare system is good quality, especially in major towns and cities. In more rural areas, it may be difficult to access the latest diagnostic tools and fewer doctors will speak English.
Travel Insurance in PolandThe private medical sector is booming in Poland, and if you have medical cover on your travel insurance you could avoid the delays associated with the public healthcare system by going private. Getting access to a private hospital could get your treatment in plusher surroundings, and be seen more quickly by an English speaking doctor. If you think you need medical treatment while on holiday in Poland, speak first to your insurance company which will be able to let you know which costs will be covered. A growing number of Polish people are using the private sector for both minor and major illnesses, and some of the best private hospitals in Warsaw are every bit as good as the best hospitals back in the UK.
As well as allowing you to get treatment more quickly, travel insurance comes with many other benefits as well. Most policies will meet the extra cost of flying you home after any hospital treatment if you miss your flight, or even repatriating you to the UK in an air ambulance if you fall seriously ill.