The Functioning of the Polish Health Care System During the First Wave of the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic in the Opinion of Primary Health Care Patients

Bozena Plonka-Syroka, Marek Stych, Beata Pawlica, Malgorzata Kmak,Mariusz Migala
European Research Studies Journal, Volume XXVI, Issue 2, 606-616, 2023
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/3191


Purpose: The aim of this scientific study is to analyze selected issues related to the functioning of Polish Primary Health Care units in the initial period of the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic. Design/Methodology/Approach: The analysis focused on the access to health services provided by Primary Health Care doctors and quality of those services, as well as issues related to the so-called tele-advice. Changes introduced in this respect directly affected the provision of health services to patients in their place of residence. The surveys we conducted were aimed at identifying the problems encountered by patients of these health care units. The following research methods were used in the study: the historical-legal method – selected legal acts and communiques issued by public administration bodies during the initial period of the pandemic were analyzed; the dogmatic-legal method – a systematic and linguistic interpretation of legal acts, reports, and information on websites was carried out; the survey method – surveys conducted among patients of Primary Health Care. Findings: The research results allow to draw de lege ferenda conclusions regarding the improvement of organizational functioning of Primary Health Care units. These conclusions will be helpful if new infectious diseases appear in the future. Making the rules for accessing Primary Health Care units more stable will enable public authorities to better prepare for potential crisis situations. Practical implications: The conducted empirical research can be utilized by decision-makers, individuals managing the Polish health care system, and those managing/running Primary Health Care facilities. The responses obtained from the respondents indicate the strengths and weaknesses in organizing the health care process in a non-standard situation, such as during a pandemic. With their help, it is possible to better organize the process of patient contact and treatment in a crisis situation, during so-called extraordinary states. Originality/value: The article is an original analysis of patients' opinions on the access to health care services provided by Primary Health Care facilities. The results of empirical research conducted among representatives of Polish society may serve as a basis for making comparisons in this area with other countries. The article may provide an impetus for an international discussion on the scope and quality of services provided by such health care entities.

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