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Coronavirus

Polish Protesters Warn That Health Care Crisis Is Looming

September 24, 2021

WARSAW — Health care workers have come to Warsaw from across Poland for an around-the-clock protest outside the prime minister’s office that has gone on for nearly two weeks.

With Poland on the cusp of a fourth surge of COVID-19 infections, the nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers and other health care workers are urging Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and other authorities to make deep reforms to the health care system, arguing that it is in danger of collapse.

“The pandemic showed us how bad the health care system is,” said Gilbert Kolbe, a nurse and spokesman for the protest movement. “This is the last chance to do something before it will be too late. We won’t be able to avert a crisis coming in five, 10 years.”

Poland has the lowest number of working doctors in proportion to its population — just 2.4 to 1,000 inhabitants compared with 4.5 in Germany, according to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development statistics.

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