New health minister in several days - PM

Marcin Obara/PAP

Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki has announced that the name of a new health minister, who will replace Lukasz Szumowski, will be announced in several days. He has also declared that "it will be a competent person with a broad knowledge of health protection."

Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski tendered his resignation on Tuesday, saying he would remain an MP but wanted to return to the medical profession.

PM Morawiecki has told PAP that the Health Ministry "for the time being, will be run by four deputy ministers."

Asked about the reasons for the minister's resignation, the prime minister explained that Professor Szumowski had come to the ministry in order to implement concrete tasks.

"It has been agreed upon since the very beginning that he will decide if he wants to continue when these goals have been implemented. But the situation came as a surprise to all of us. Minister Szumowski could have left the government earlier but decided to stay in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and to take upon himself the responsibility for the Polish health service during the crisis. We know today that this was a decision which made it possible for Poland to go through the coronavirus pandemic in a much better condition than in the case of richer West European countries," PM Morawiecki underlined.

Morawiecki also stated that Minister Szumowski was trusted not only by government members and the United Right camp but, above all, by Polish citizens. "This was a health minister enjoying the highest social trust in history," Morawiecki said, adding that Szumowski held the post during "the extremely difficult conditions of the pandemic."

The prime minister praised the outgoing minister for his work and proper decisions he had taken "in order to save the lives and health of Poles during the global pandemic." He also held the work of his deputy Janusz Cieszynski, who has also decided to resign, in high esteem.

The PM admitted that the Health Ministry "has lost two outstanding specialists, who will be difficult to replace." But he underlined that they have left the Polish health service in a better condition despite all the difficulties they had to face.

PM Morawiecki repeated that the name of a new minister "will be announced in several days."