OZZL – OGÓLNOPOLSKI ZWIĄZEK ZAWODOWY LEKARZY – ZARZĄD KRAJOWY
OZZL was founded 1st June 1991. It is the first strictly doctors’ trade union in Poland since World War Two. Joining our organisation is non-obligatory. Most of our members are salaried doctors under the administrative authority, mainly of a public employer, working full-time and part-time. We are open to doctors of various specialities and of different training period.
We have our representatives almost in all of 607 public hospitals in Poland. After the first five-year’s period of our activity, we grew up even to 25,000 members from among 120,000 doctors and dentists working in our country. Now we lost many members, because of the changes in our healthcare system, which enabled to came a numerous private doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries (offices) and businesses into existence. Those firms are not working under rules of labour law currently. So, generally, we have around 14,000 members at present.
In our program we back up introducing of free market into the healthcare system everywhere, where it is possible. We demand to establish rational, free-market and competing healthcare system in Poland. This is our basic task. In parallel, as a trade (labour) union, we keep guard against breaking labour law by employers in hospitals and other health care plants, where doctors (our members) are engaged. If necessary, we support legal help for our members.
On a nationwide scale, our organisation participates in conferences and meetings with representatives of Poland’s Government, Parliament and other institutions and organisations, giving them our union’s opinion about health care system, doctors’ situation, labour law problems, and demanding to improve the most important matters. We cooperate with Polish Chamber of Physicians and Dentists and with many other trade unions and organisations existing in health care sphere in our country.
But not only that. In special cases, we send our open letters or protests to Members of Parliament and to other official institutions, with thousands of signatures. We organize various nationwide protest campaigns, sometimes involving tens thousands of physicians. Moreover, in 1996 we arranged the very first in Poland doctors’ demonstration in Warsaw, and then, in cooperation with Polish Chamber of Physicians and Dentists, we’ve repeated it twice. 10,000 physicians participated during each of those two demonstrations. Also we take part in demonstrations organized by other unions.
Our protest refer to the dreadful healthcare system in Poland, against its improper way of reform, the lack of money in this system, against drastically low doctors’ earnings leading them into a low and poor standard of living (our basic salary is on average up to € 500 or so, a month, net, apart from the additional pay for on-call duties), wrong working conditions forcing physicians to continuous play with danger and to overwork, and against permanent worsening of patient situation. Patients have very difficult access to medical services now and they are forced to wait in long lines.
Also we take part in many nationwide discussions tending towards construction of a better health care system in Poland, which is very poor and primitive now. We have our own big and comprehensive project of reform, leading to establish a rational system, working on a competition and a free-market basis. We try to propagate it everywhere where we can. A deep reform of health care system in Poland is necessary, because its effectiveness is completely ruined now.
Our success is forcing government in Poland to bring the European Directive 2003-88/EC (regarding to the working time) into a domestic law, what happened in Autumn 2007. But on the other hand, it is vitally important to cause a considerable rise of doctors’ wages in Poland and in other EU newcomers. The alternative for doctors in Poland is to emigrate to old EU countries, but in turn, this solution is not favourable to doctors already working there, because of danger of taking over their positions.
The general assembly of the F.E.M.S – Federation Europeenne Des Medecins Salaries (European Federation Of Salaried Doctors) hold in Ischia the 27th – 28th May 2005 unanimously accepted the OZZL (Doctors’ Trade Union of Poland – D.T.U.P) as a member observer. We hope, that working together, doctors’ activity will be stronger both in Europe and in Poland in achieving their goals.