From October 19, 2017

WARSAW, Poland — Poland announced plans Thursday to significantly increase spending on health care as a hunger strike by young doctors demanding more funding entered its third week.

Poland’s health care system is chronically underfunded and there are often months-long waiting lists for medical procedures.

Minister Henryk Kowalczyk, in charge of economic affairs, said the conservative government would debate a plan next week to gradually increase spending in the health sector to 6 per cent of gross domestic product by 2025, compared to 4.7 per cent now.

Health Minister Konstanty Radziwill called it an unprecedented and “revolutionary” change for the sector that has been mostly ignored by all Polish governments since the return to democracy in 1989.

Protester Piotr Matyja, however, said the offer was “nothing new” and that Radziwill had been talking about such raises for a long time.

A few dozen young doctors have been staging a hunger strike at a children’s hospital in Warsaw and were recently joined by groups in Szczecin, in the northwest, and in the central city of Lodz.

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