On 23 April 2015, during a consultative debate dedicated to the project of the Public Health Act in which participated employers, the government’s plenipotentiary for public health and the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Health, Beata Małecka-Libera, the representatives of the meeting’s hosts, Employers of Poland, Polish Confederation Lewiatan and Business Centre Club – the three representative organizations in the social dialogue – unambiguously advocated for the strengthening of the competences of the Plenipotentiary for Public Health and the participation of employers’ representatives in the Council on Public Health.
Employer’s organizations welcomed the Public Health Act contentedly. – despite its limited shape, the project lays a foundation and creates a long expected priority for common action of all parties interested in the field of public health – said Małgorzata Gałązka-Sobotka, the Advisor to the President of Employers of Poland and employers’ representative in the National Health Fund (NFZ). After applying necessary corrections the project should be adopted before the end of the current governmental term – reads the unambiguous and unanimous recommendation of the employers’ three representative organizations.
The planned competences of the Plenipotentiary raised awareness of the debate’s participants as they were considered as insufficient. They do not guarantee the full realization of the ambitious goals regarding the planning and coordination of task realization in the field of public health. – The Plenipotentiary should have a seat on the Prime Minister’s Council – stated the Vice-president of Employers of Poland Andrzej Mądrala. Doubts about the effectiveness of the Plenipotentiary’s actions as the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Health were also shared by the representative of the Confederation Lewiatan and the Advisor to the President of Poland for Health, Maciej Piróg. Next, the Minister for healthcare system in the BCC’s Shadow Economic Cabinet, Anna Janczewska-Radwan, pointed out that the role of the Plenipotentiary should be strengthened by using the potential that the office of a minister without portfolio brings.
During the debate it was emphasized that, apart from the preparation of the National Health Program project, most powers of the Plenipotentiary are soft. Where causative power is required, the Plenipotentiary’s voice might not be heard. – the Plenipotentiary should be able to make objections to the resolutions of the Public Health Steering Committee, where the other ministers have an advantage – pointed out Robert Mołdach, the Advisor to the President of Employers of Poland, who led the debate. He also added that in this spirit, the authorization of the Plenipotentiary by the Minister of Health to dispose of the Health Fund should not be discretionary but mandatory.
Regarding one field – the proposed composition of the Council on Public Health – all participants objected to the omission of employers’ representatives – the Occupational Medicine Act imposes on employers specific tasks regarding health prevention in the workplace, which explicitly point at the necessity of our participation in the Council on Public Health – explains Robert Mołdach. Employers are also service providers whose duties of course include taking care of citizens’ health and disease prevention.
Minister Beata Małecka-Libera responded to that demand with understanding. She listened closely to all the proposals regarding the Public Health System and the role of the Plenipotentiary for Public Health within that system. The meeting on 23 April at the Employers of Poland’s headquarters was another of a series of meetings with employers, initiated by Minister Beata Małecka-Libera during the works on the Public Health Act, and another of meetings with the representatives of the parties directly affected by the Act.
Employers of Poland would like to distinguish the mode of public consultations adopted by the Minister – as one without precedent in healthcare legislation. This mode follows the example of the best social dialogue models and includes such features as openness to different opinions, argumentative discussions and active inclusion of social partners in the works on the act in the early stages of its creation. Employers of Poland expect positive resolutions of the problems discussed during the debate.