GP / POZ doctor – what is it?
GP – General Practitioner, or Primary Health Care Doctor (POZ – Lekarz Podstawowej Opieki Zdrowotnej). I had multiple requests for clarifying the process of getting your POZ and explaining the registration process in detail. Especially nowadays when I released a post about COVID vaccination – click here. Since I explained already the structure of Health Care in Poland, I will refer to the subjects from my previous article (for example NFZ, referral, ZUS, L4, 3x levels of test and treatment). If you would like to have a full view on a system itself, I highly recommend reading my mentioned post first – link here. So, going forward, I am presenting bulleted list of subjects covered in this post.
- GP / POZ – what is it?
- Why do I need it?
- How to find my GP/POZ clinic?
- How to choose and apply for GP/POZ?
Primary Healthcare (POZ) is part of the health care system (level 1) and provides health services for healthy and sick people in a clinic or at home.
The scope of care includes health, preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitation and nursing services in the field of general medicine, family medicine, internal diseases and pediatrics provided as part of outpatient health care.
Why do I need it POZ / GP doctor in Poland?
Allow me to clarify with an example of using a services from private care only, skipping GP/POZ. If you have a flu, you can get to any internist, who most probably will give you first medicines with no prescription, as Paracetamol or Gripex. If it is not flu and you would get any bacteria on your lounges you need to get an antibiotic. In such case, if you will get the prescription in Luxmed from another random Internist and you will need to pay 100% of medicine price.
The same random internist will not be able to give you referral for 2nd or 3rd level treatment or advanced tests covered by NFZ. You might visit as well any POZ clinic (Poradnia / Gabinet podstawowej opieki zdrowotnej – POZ), which supposed to give you a help with getting referral for required tests or medicines. But! I personally met an example of clinic, which refused to help me because I did not choose them as POZ clinic. Technically, it is against the law, but who would like to experience such approach and deal with it. Better safe than sorry.
On the other hand, if you would visit your GP doctor for the same, he might advise you to get Gripex first as well. But if you will come back, he will be able to give you prescription for antibiotics with 50%, 80% or 100% discount covered by NFZ (it does depend on the medicine) or he/she will send you to run specific tests or treatment for 2nd or 3rd level within 100% NFZ coverage. Such doctor will also have a history of your sickness.
GP / POZ doctor is especially important for people with chronic diseases, elderly people, and parents. Why? Because such doctor will follow up with the previous result of your treatment and continue with a next step instead of starting from the beginning. You also make a kind of a relation with such doctor and in many cases, this is something what will help you with taking decision about visiting doctor or not. Ideally, POZ is a with whom you supposed to start asking for help in relation with any heath condition.
Summarizing “Why do I need it?”
Having your own GP/POZ doctor is very important especially in case of setting up referrals for next level treatment. These referrals give you coverage for tests and advanced treatment, which means that you don’t need to pay for it from your own pocket. Therefore, registering yourself with specific clinic and specific GP is so important. It doesn’t really matter if it will be your local public clinic (przychodnia) or private health care (Luxmed). My recommendation: it is for free – do not hesitate and do it. Bulleted list of adventages below.
- referrals for hospital, rehabilitation, spa treatment and long-term care covered from NFZ.
- medical transport to hospital (3rd level) or for diagnostic tests (2nd level)
- access to free compulsory immunization/vaccination. Especially important nowadays. Few days back, I released an article about COVID vaccination mentioned already in the first paragraph of this post.
- possibility to choose a nurse and a primary care.
- issuing relevant medical decisions and certificates (for example statements about disabilities or chronic disease for ZUS).
- issuing prescriptions for medicines (including NFZ reimbursed/refund drugs).
How to find my POZ / GP doctor in Poland?
There are few ways to do it. Allow me to list the most common ones:
- Option 1: Luxmed, you can also approach them and choose your GP from there. Details in next pragraph.
- Option 2: Search engine for facilities cooperating with the National Health Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia – NFZ). Just type in your current localization and check results. Page contains information about opening hours, address, details, facility equipment and lines of public transport (link to my article about public transport), which can bring you there. This Search engine is available only in Polish, so prepare yourself for using “Browser Live translate” option.
- Option 3: Ask your neighbor. Yes – so simple. Do not choose neighbor who is 12 years old, but rather his parent. As we all know, teenagers never get sick, so they wouldn’t know 😉 Every adult person supposed to be able to point you out their POZ really quick, since I do not know any Pole without GP. Just ask about: “lekarz rodzinny” or “lekarz pierwszego kontaku”. This option allows you as well to receive direct feedback about pointed facility.
- Option 4: Google. Type in the google “przychodnia + name of your city ” and choose the one which is in your neighborhood.
How to apply for GP / POZ?
As I mentioned already, the same GP doctors are available via Private and Public clinics. Once again, I described the differences in my post about Health care. Therefore, allow me to get straight to my point. There are only 3x things which you need, in order to register yourself with specific clinic.
- PESEL number.
- pay NFZ contribution (if you are working legally, you pay it automatically).
- bring filled in POZ / GP application with your personal data – each clinic might have their own template. Example from Luxmed here.
Private clinics as for example Luxmed (I did not mention other on purpose), seems to be the best choice for foreigners. Here is why:
- majority of the staff speaks English.
- modern internet portals to reserve the visits.
- quick helpline and service desk center.
And now: You do not need to have a Luxmed subscription to get standard NFZ GP doctor. You just need to have PESEL number and pay NFZ contribution. Naturally, all Luxmed dedicated services are paid separately or via subscription, but I called hotline and confirmed, that they are already 100% compatible with basic GP / POZ doctor for NFZ.
But why not the others? I also called Medicover (2nd biggest private medical health provider in Poland) and asked for POZ doctor. Lady on the second side of the phone, told me, that referrals from Medicover are not connected with NFZ and that you cannot make a NFZ covered visit with their GP (state on the day of writing whis post).
Summary of POZ / GP doctor in Poland
So here is my advice. If you live in a city with Luxmed facility, register yourself there. If not, go for local public clinic. Once again – it cost you nothing and you need to remember one thing. It is much better to have it done now, rather than when the things will get worse and you will need to find anything, anywhere. Stay healthy!
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http://www.nfz-warszawa.pl/dla-pacjenta/co-kazdy-pacjent-wiedziec-powinien/podstawowa-opieka-zdrowotna/; https://www.luxmed.pl/; https://www.medicover.pl/;Source