Poland has a decentralized health system based on mandatory health insurance. The stewardship, management and financing of the system are divided between the Ministry of Health, the National Health Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia, NFZ) and territorial self-governments. NFZ is responsible for financing health care services to the insured population and it manages the process of contracting health services with public and non-public service providers.
Non-public providers dominate in primary and ambulatory care. The majority of therapeutic activity (inpatient services in hospitals or other institutions) are provided by public healthcare units, followed by private entrepreneurs.
You can obtain medically necessary treatment by presenting the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), when you are temporarily staying in Poland. Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that cannot wait for your return home. You may need such treatment in case of acute illness or accident. You can also receive treatment related to pregnancy and childbirth or to a chronic illness. The need for treatment must emerge during the course of your stay.
You will receive treatment on the same terms and at the same price as the locals. It is advisable to carry copies of your European Health Insurance Card with you, along with the card itself. If you didn’t have your EHIC with you or it was not accepted, and you were required to pay all the costs of treatment yourself, you might be able to apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively.
In Poland, the National Health Fund, Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia, NFZ, is responsible for reimbursing the costs of medical care. You can ask its regional offices to provide you with the contact information of places of treatment that have an agreement with NFZ. These can be identified by the logo NFZ.
See a general practitioner who has an agreement with NFZ. If you need a specialist, you can consult one if you have a general practitioner´s referral. Exceptions are gynaecologist, obstetricians, dentists, specialists in sexually transmitted diseases (venerologist), oncologists and psychiatrists, who you can consult without a referral from a general practitioner.
When you show your European Health Insurance Card or a certificate to temporarily replacing it, and an ID at the appointment is treatment free of charge. General practitioner’s surgeries are generally open from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. Outside office hours, weekends and on holidays, 24-hour medical treatment is provided by healthcare providers contracted to the NFZ whose contact information is available from NFZ´s regional offices.
Dentists provide only certain procedures and materials free of charge. In order to receive dental services, you should go to a doctor who have signed a contract with the NFZ and present your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Free dental services within the public health insurance are available only to a certain extent.
A list of free services and dental materials should be available at dentist surgeries. The costs of the provision of non-standard dental services and materials that are not on the list of the Ministry of Health will be charged from the patient.
A prescription can be issued by a doctor or other healthcare professional entitled to issue prescription.
For most basic medication, you will pay a lump sum while other medications are reimbursed in different rates. Some medications are not reimbursed at all.
In order to obtain hospital treatment, you generally need a doctor´s referral. In emergencies, you can go directly to a hospital´s emergency room (SOR). You will receive treatment free of charge at NFZ´s hospitals when you present your European Health Insurance Card and ID.
You will also receive ambulance transport free of charge with a valid European Health Insurance Card in case of an emergency.
If your illness requires you to use special transport when returning to Finland, you will be liable for the travel costs in their entirety. You are recommended to take out a travel insurance that covers these costs.
Read more about suddenly falling ill in Europe.
Read more about reimbursement of costs of treatment abroad.
If you wish to travel to Poland for the purpose of using healthcare services you can find general information on seeking treatment abroad on our site. Some useful websites concerning seeking treatment in Poland are listed below. You should direct your questions about healthcare in Poland to the Polish Contact Point.
Also the National Contact Point of Poland can assist in searching for a healthcare provider; additional information is available on the website of the National Contact Point of Poland (treatment in Poland under the cross-border directive). If you wish to attain information about healthcare in Poland based on the social security coordination in the European Union, you need to contact Central Office of the National Health Fund (e-mail: ca17(at)nfz.gov.pl, phone: +48 22 572 62 68) or one of the regional branches.
You can find addresses of health care providers from NFZ’s website (only in Polish).
Quality and safety of treatment
In Poland, the standards for the quality and safety of healthcare and the ethical principles of the provision of treatment are established by law. The Polish National Health Fund ensures that healthcare service providers in the public system comply with agreements. Comprehensive information about the quality and supervision of healthcare has been compiled on the website of the National Contact Point of Poland.
In the event of treatment injuries, the legislation and patient insurance of the country providing the treatment is always applied. In case you are unhappy with the treatment you received, you should primarily try to sort the matter out with the treatment provider. The national contact point can help you with finding the right authority if you wish to make a complaint.