Family doctors closed their clinics, medical specialists - private clinics. Many hospitals lack doctors and nurses because they either look after the children at home or went on sick leave.
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151 people have not been working for two days at the Zagłębie Center of Oncology in Dąbrowa Górnicza. They are on sick leave.

The University Hospital in Krakow, which was appointed to look after patients with coronavirus, asked residents and medical students for support because 100 nurses and 60 doctors are taking care of their children. The Polish Mother's Institute of Health in Łódź refused to answer the question, how many doctors and how many nurses will not come to work because of holidays, dismissals or care. The hospital did not give reasons for refusal. - It's different. Some people are eager to work, they feel that they are especially needed now. Others not - admits a spokesman for a large clinical hospital in Silesia, but when we ask him for details, he also refuses to speak further.

Only at the Institute of Oncology in Warsaw, we were assured that there is no problem with the staff. - Everyone comes to work. The exception is doctors who also work in infectious disease hospitals. They don't come to us at the moment - says Mariusz Gierej, spokesman for the institute. He asks you to write about something else: a gigantic problem with families of patients. - Despite our requests and messages, they accompany the sick who come to the clinic, even if they have a fever. There are also those who, despite the ban on visiting the wards and the possibility of sending the package to the patient through our employees, are trying at all costs to enter the hospital, for example, through a goods ramp. It is just hard to understand.

Family doctor on the phone

Wojciech Andrusiewicz, the spokesman for the Ministry of Health, added: - Primary healthcare physicians should be available to patients. As for specialists, only visits that can be postponed without the risk of deterioration of the patient's health may be limited. The National Health Fund will monitor this.

 Meanwhile, access to a family doctor is getting harder. Clinics, whose owners are concentrated in the Zielona Góra Agreement, are usually locked. Patients can call. After a detailed interview, the doctor decides whether just a call appointment and e-prescription will be enough or whether he will accept the patient. Then the patient makes an appointment for a specific time. Patients with severe symptoms are immediately referred to the hospital, without visiting a clinic.

- Family doctors put the whole burden of care on us. Patients are now crowding outside the tent, which is an emergency room for people who may be infected with the coronavirus. Firefighters were supposed to watch this tent, but they hid in the car. In the end, the patients opened it for themselves - says an infectious doctor from a hospital in the north of the country. Asks you not to provide your name.

But family doctors explain that they cannot select patients with respiratory infections themselves, because they do not have personal protective equipment. - We need to have locked clinics. If we would open the door to the clinic normally, we would have the crowd in the waiting room and all the basic health care in the country would have to be quarantined. By consulting most patients over the phone, we protect them - says Jacek Krajewski, president of the Zielona Góra Agreement. He complains about conflicting tips. A national consultant in the field of pediatrics recommended to stop vaccination, and the Polish Pediatric Association to continue. - It's a terrible mess. We are waiting for the guidelines of the Chief Sanitary Inspector.

Staff steals masks

Even more difficult than to set an appointment with a family doctor is to get one with a specialist. Clinics cancel most visits. Private offices are closed.

According to a doctor from western Małopolska: - On Monday I received patients until midnight. I am probably the only doctor in my area who still has an office open. Patients said they could not get into pulmonologists, gastrologists. There was a pregnant girl. I advised her to consult a gynecologist. She said it was impossible because her gynecologist also closed the office. People are crazy. They behave like soldiers who flee from the battlefield surprised to be shooting. Please, don't give me my name, because my friends will be mad at me.

Perhaps there could be more open offices, but there is no means for disinfection, and the Ministry of Health issued a ban on selling personal protective equipment to individual medical practitioners. The Supreme Medical Council protested in this matter with no effect. These supplies are already starting to be lacking even in hospitals. An appeal to the companies was made by the Zagłębie Center of Oncology, and mask regulation was introduced in one of the Katowice hospitals. Although new purveyance was delivered every day, all of them disappeared. - Someone from the staff probably stole it. We've lived to those times - we hear in a hospital.

Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about the coronovirus pandemic for you.

They are on the front lines in 25 Polish cities. They work on the ground, reporting from hospitals and airports.

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