Protesting medics decline to meet health minister

Tomasz Gzell/PAP

A delegation representing Polish healthcare workers refused to accept an invitation for a meeting with the government, the health minister said on Tuesday.

Healthcare workers have taken to the streets of late to demand better wages and improved working conditions, and have even set up a camp outside the prime minister’s office.

They also want healthcare spending increased to 8 percent of GDP faster than currently planned, but the government has described their demands as unrealistic on the grounds of cost.

"We wanted to discuss the reality of their demands, what they mean for the functioning of the whole state, but my invitation unfortunately did not meet with the protesters' expectations," Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told a press briefing on Tuesday.

He added that he had wanted to discuss finance, demands and propositions with the Strike Committee.

"The aim of the meeting was to be the clarification of certain doubts, and details of the costs related to their demands," Niedzielski said, adding that the demands presented by the committee would raise government expenditure by about PLN 100 billion (EUR 21.95 billion) a year.

"One of the main demands on the cost side was the demand concerning increased pay," he explained. "The whole cost comes to PLN 65 billion (EUR 14.27 billion) a year."