Employers of Poland want occupational doctors to gain new competences following a discussion in the Social Dialog Council. Trade unions support the idea.
Occupational medicine regulations currently in force were implemented two decades ago and are not appropriate for contemporary realities of the field, such as long hours spent in front of a computer screen or diseases of affluence. However, this realization did not feature prominently on the list of priorities of subsequent ministers of health. Therefore, Employers of Poland resolved to take the initiative and prepare recommendations in cooperation with the unions. They are expected to be presented to the ministry before the end of the year.
– We are wasting the potential of occupational doctors, who are ready to provide employees comprehensive care. They should not only issue judgements, but also to advise employees and their companies on how to create optimal working conditions – argues Andrzej Mądrala, Vicepresident of Employers of Poland.
Trade unions are open to discussion. – Every initiative benefiting health in the work environment will have our support – declares Wiesława Taranowska, Deputy Chairwoman of OPZZ. She adds that the idea should first be discussed in the working team for healthcare issues and then by the Social Dialog Council as a whole.
– Occupational medicine should also include a thorough analysis of the working environment in order to protect employees not only against traditional occupational diseases, but also against diseases of affluence – explains Anna Rulkiewicz, Chairwoman of Employers of Private Medicine and Luxmed Group. She refers a.o. to cardiological diseases and broadly understood mental health.
– Increasing the role of occupational medicine will generate additional costs, but will also enable companies to lower costs resulting from health-related employee absence and presenteeism – the situation when sick employees go to work, but work inefficiently. However, employers will need support, eg. through tax deductions, as their engagement in caring for the health of employees is an element of the public health system – summarizes Rulkiewicz.