At the beginning of the 21st century, psychiatry in Poland was functioning in the model based mostly on the network of large institutions localised outside of the main city centres. Due to Poland's accession to the European Union, it was necessary to change the mental health care system. This need was legally sanctioned when the Law on Protection of Mental Health was passed in 1994. The solutions were included in the National Programme on Mental Health Care (NPOZP). NPOZP comprised the guidelines on the mental health care system shift to community-based health services, including a roadmap for its implementation in 2011–2015. According to the evaluation of the NPOZP, including the information gathered by the Ministry of Health, the programme was implemented to a small extent. The number of large psychiatric institutions and the number of in-patient beds were reduced, the numbers of day wards as well as psychiatric wards in the multidisciplinary hospitals were increased. The training of the staff for the new system beginned. A serious challenge for the continuation of the reforms being carried out is the provision of the sufficient number of mental health professionals, particularly in the face of economic migration. A short duration of the proposed NPOZP implementation period did not allow for a full application of the new mental health care solutions, however the awareness that its implementation may be at risk led to a public and media discourse which definitely will have an impact on the improvement of the execution of the programme.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.