After quite a long break from posting, I took the liberty to write a topic, that may seem a bit less law-oriented. However, because of COVID-19 global pandemic, there is a lot of legal changes aimed at healthcare system. As a result, there are signs of difficulties with getting medical help – especially since even personal visit in doctor’s office in no longer a standard.
So how medical appointments looks like nowadays and how to make one?
Making an Appointment
During the epidemic, rules for making appointments vary between health centres (these are called “przychodnia” in Polish). Before you make a visit, you should call your chosen medical facility first by phone to determine what type of appointment is possible there.
A receptionist will also make a short medical interview with you. They can ask about the reason why you want to see your doctor, but most importantly they will ask questions which help them recognize if you may be infected by COVID-19 or not.
Types of Medical Appointments
You can make an appointment with your doctor in person, by phone or online.
Currently doctors are expected to give medical advice by phone first. This is one of the main rules of consulting patients during COVID-19. During the phone call, he/she can diagnose you and give you prescription right away. However, depending on your health condition, the doctor can decide that you have to meet him in person.
During the epidemic, personal appointments are usually limited to urgent cases only. You will also meet your doctor in person in case you need to do medical tests, vaccinations after he/she decides so during phone call.
In some medical facilities, you can also make get online medical appointment, that essentially works the same way as phone consultation.
How doctors issue prescriptions?
Regardless of the type of medical appointment, doctors are obligated to issue e-prescriptions (pl. “e-recepta”), using electronic system. The doctor will give you individual code for the prescription that you will need to get your medicines. You can receive the code either directly, by SMS or e-mail. You can still get the paper confirmation of a prescription if you want, but regardless it is always being done through the use of electronic system.
You don’t have to show any printout or a written prescription in the pharmacy. All you need to do is tell the pharmacist your PESEL number (if you have one) and individual code of the prescription that doctor gave you.
What documents do you need to make an appointment?
The most important thing is that if you would like to gain access to public healthcare, you need to be insured. If you are working in Poland and therefore benefit from social insurance (“ZUS”), you can make medical appointment the same way as Polish citizens. It means that you can be treated by any medical facilities that have contracts with National Health Fund (pl. “Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia”).
During your appointment you should have documents that confirms your identity and legal stay in Poland. If you are an EU citizen you should have European Health Insurance Card with you. If this isn’t your first visit at given medical facility, they should have all your medical documentation.
In case you don’t have health insurance, you can receive medical treatment, but you will be charged by the price of it.
There are two ways to get vaccination.
The first is to make an appointment and ask for a flu vaccination. If medical facility is supplied with this kind of vaccines (which is seen rarely due to high demand), they can give you vaccination after health examination.
The second way is to get a prescription during regular medical appointment and then buy the vaccine on your own at the local drugstore.
Flu vaccines are refundable by National Health Fund since September 2020 for:
- children between the age of 3 and 5,
- people under the age of 65, if they have other serious diseases,
- pregnant women,
- adults between the age of 65 and 75.
People over the age of 75 can be vaccinated against flu for free.