Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Junior doctors rise up in Poland

Problems of junior doctors in Poland: scientific insight

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 26 July 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4132
  1. Filip A Dabrowski, president1,
  2. Anna Oleksiak, specialist trainee in cardiology2,
  3. Anna Sladowska, specialist trainee in obstetrics3
  1. 1Junior Doctors Committee, Polish Medical Chamber, Medical University of Warsaw, 1st Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Starynkiewicza Square 1/3, 01-015 Warsaw, Poland
  2. 2Intensive Cardiac Therapy Clinic, Institute of Cardiology, Warsaw, Poland
  3. 3Medical University of Warsaw, Department of Histology and Embryology, Warsaw Medical Chamber, Warsaw, Poland
  1. fil.dabrowski{at}

Bettany reports the June demonstration by junior doctors in Poland against poor wages, quality of training, and a lack of regulation of working hours.1

The Centre for Studies and Analyses and the Commission for the Young Doctors of the Polish Medical Chamber conducted a survey among 2691 doctors under 35 in a specialist training system in Poland. Some 69% of respondents had a negative opinion of the system. Also, 72% of doctors list low wages as a significant barrier to specialist training, and 89% cite the need to work extra hours to support their families. Another study, which analysed 3000 contracts in 73 hospitals, found that an average junior doctor’s salary was PLN13.65 (£2.61; €3.13; $3.44) an hour. Fully trained specialists received PLN16.89 an hour.2

The EU Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC) and Polish labour law state that the working week should not exceed 48 hours. Junior doctors reported that they needed an additional job to compensate for a low hospital salary, and they worked significantly longer hours than the regulations require (see table at 4

The average number of doctors in Europe is 3.4 per 1000 inhabitants.5 In Poland it is only 2.2/1000.5 6 This indicator has not changed for more than 20 years. Additionally, the average age of a physician practising in Poland is 54.5.6 7 8 In 2015, 836 doctors and 196 dentists received certificates required for work in the EU (9597 doctors and 2798 dentists since 2005).8

To prevent Polish doctors emigrating the National Convention of Physicians recommended raising the salary of a doctor to 2-3 times the national average wage in the resolution from 7 January 2006.9 Numerous policy statements to the Ministry of Health, to the prime minister, and to the public have been issued; so far, little has changed.



View Abstract