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Amid protest, Polish government to raise health care budget

October 19, 2017

Young doctors rally in front of the prime minister's office to demand increases of their low earnings and more spending on the chronically strapped and inefficient health care, in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. The placard right reads: Stop dying in queues. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s government has announced plans to significantly increase spending on health care as a hunger protest by young doctors demanding more funds for the sector entered a third week.

The nation’s health care system is chronically underfunded and waiting times for medical procedures are often long.

Minister Henryk Kowalczyk, in charge of economy issues, said Thursday that the government will debate next week a plan to gradually increase spending on the sector to 6 percent of annual GDP in 2025, from the current 4.7 percent. That is equivalent to an increase of about 25 billion zlotys ($7 billion).

The protesting junior doctors are demanding higher pay, saying it is necessary to better care for patients.

Some street protests were held in support.

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