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Poland's Medical Workers Call for Help

Staffs say they're overwhelmed, but talks with government go nowhere
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 11, 2021 3:30 PM CDT
Doctors, Nurses, Midwives Seek More Help
Medical staff push skeletons in wheelchairs during a protest Saturday in Warsaw.   (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

(Newser) – Large numbers of doctors, nurses, and other medical workers marched in Warsaw on Saturday for higher wages and an improvement in working conditions made more difficult by the coronavirus pandemic. Poland's health care sector was strapped for funds even before the pandemic, and low wages drove many medical workers to seek work in other European Union countries. Protesters, who included midwives, physical therapists, and lab technicians, beat drums and blew horns, the AP reports. They stressed the point in speeches and on banners that they are working extremely long hours, putting their patients in danger and driving themselves to early deaths.

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Nurses in white caps carried banners saying: "Rested medic = safe patient!" and "One nurse for 30 patients! Who to help first?" Organizers called for a moment of silence during the march to honor the health care workers who have died from COVID-19. Health Minister Adam Niedzielski says that he's open to discussing the issues with protesters but that the state cannot afford to meet all their demands. Unions' meetings with the health minister broke down on Friday, and he accused the protest organizers of "creating theater" on the streets in a search of "social applause." The protest took place in central Warsaw and was to head past parliament and end at the prime minster's office.

(Read more Poland stories.)

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