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Labour migration of doctors and nurses and the impact on the quality of health care in Eastern European countries: The case of Poland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2023

Piotr Żuk*
University of Wrocław, Poland
Paweł Żuk
Centre for Civil Rights and Democracy Research, Poland
Justyna Lisiewicz-Jakubaszko
4th Military Clinical Hospital, Poland
Piotr Żuk, Instytut Socjologii (Institute of Sociology), University of Wrocław, ul. Koszarowa 3, 51-149 Wrocław, Poland. Email:


The purpose of this commentary article is to explain the causes and effects of the economic migration of health care workers from Poland to Western countries, and to analyse the impact of the migration of doctors and nurses on the functioning of the public health system. We use data from the National Central Statistical Office, our own preliminary research, social surveys and the Watch Health Care database. Domestic data are analysed and compared with trends in Western Europe as described in Eurostat and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reports. The decreasing number of active physicians remaining in the health care system results in long waits for specialist appointments. The demand for doctors from Central and Eastern Europe will continue to grow. Consequently, there will be a further outflow of medical staff from Poland and other countries in the region and the current problems with access to health care will continue.

New research
© The Author(s) 2019

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