WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Tens of thousands of patients in Poland are without medical care this year after some doctors shut their surgeries in protest at new cancer treatment procedures.
The doctors say that the so-called "oncology package" that was introduced Jan. 1 and requires family doctors to diagnose and fast-track cancer patients will leave less time and attention for all other patients, threatening their health. A doctors' union is threatening a nationwide strike to have the plan reversed.
Hundreds of doctors refused to sign the new plan and have kept their surgeries closed since Jan. 1, mainly in northern and eastern Poland.
Negotiations last year with Health Minister Bartosz Arlukowicz, himself a doctor, failed when he accused the doctors of ill will.
One in four Poles dies of cancer, often diagnosed late.