Can a refugee from Ukraine have an operation performed under the National Health Service?

A citizen of Ukraine whose stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland is recognised as legal on the basis of the Special-purpose Act (i.e. he/she is a person who entered the territory of the Republic of Poland as of 24 February 2022 from the territory of Ukraine in connection with military operations conducted on the territory of that country and declares his/her intention to stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland), shall be entitled to medical care provided on the territory of the Republic of Poland covering health care services on the terms and in the scope as for persons covered by obligatory or voluntary health insurance, excluding therapeutic spa treatment and spa rehabilitation, as well as the administration of medicinal products issued to beneficiaries within the framework of health policy programmes of the minister competent for health matters.

In practice, this means that, subject to the aforementioned exceptions, Ukrainian citizens to whom the Special-purpose Act applies are entitled to free medical services in Poland, but to the extent that the National Health Fund has decided to finance them. This means that if a particular procedure or operation is reimbursed by the National Health Fund, the healthcare provider (e.g. a hospital) should perform the procedure/operation free of charge, which does not require the foreigner to obtain additional consents, as their access to free medical care results from the Special-purpose Act.

However, if the medical service is not reimbursed or is reimbursed only partially, or the foreigner decides to use private medical care in Poland, the foreigner will have to cover the costs of the treatment.