Pregnancy / Childbirth

Childbirth - what's free?

Childbirth - what's free?

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1716 zlotys go to the hospital with each woman giving birth. In facilities that have a signed National Health Fund agreement under this amount, the delivery woman is provided with medical care and certain amenities.

What results from this fact? It is worth knowing your rights so that you do not pay for services that are free. If, however, we pay a fee, for example, for anesthesia at delivery, we can write to the hospital management requesting a return.

Confirmation of insurance?

Every pregnant woman, regardless of whether she is insured or not, is entitled to 'free' perinatal care. The hospital has no right to refuse admission of a pregnant woman if it turns out that she is not on the insured register.
Childbirth is qualified for guaranteed services, which means that all treatments associated with it are free for all women.


Anesthesia for childbirth is free. Despite this, many hospitals report on their sites that they need to pay a fee for administering anesthesia.

According to the Ministry of Health, the Supreme Audit Office, the National Health Fund and the Patient Ombudsman, this is illegal. Facilities with contracts signed with the NFZ they are not entitled to charge for anesthesia at delivery.

On the other hand, the problem is another matter: the doctor decides about anesthesia at delivery. He may not give anesthesia to the patient when she asks for it or give another type of pharmaceutical. It is a good habit to decide which (pharmacological and non-pharmacological) methods to reduce pain during labor for a given patient. The doctor should make such a decision with the woman giving birth.

It is easier if, despite non-compliance with the practices, the money is paid and then a refund is requested. The hospital must give them back. All you have to do is submit a cash return request, direct it to the facility director, and attach proof of payment.

The Patient Rights Ombudsman may charge a violation of the collective rights of a patient to facilities that charge fees for anesthesia. It is also possible to impose a financial penalty of up to half a million zlotys.

Hospitals defend themselves: they don't get enough money from the National Health Fund. On the other hand, they cannot charge patients. According to many directors, in this way epidural anesthesia is available only to a few. The National Health Fund replies that anesthesia cannot have the "wishful" form. It is the doctor who decides to whom and when to give them. The circle closes.

Note, epidural anesthesia is recommended for women with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart defects, vision defects, and low pain tolerance. Contraindication to administering anesthesia is very rare.

So what is worth doing? It's best to go to a hospital and find out if you can get anesthesia on request. By making the matter clear, we can make the right decision about choosing a hospital.

Family childbirth

New perinatal standards also ensure the right of a woman to give birth with the support of one loved one: for example, mother or partner.

In the light of applicable regulations, there are no legal grounds allowing for charging fees for services provided during delivery financed from public funds. Charging for so-called family births and for intimate conditions during delivery (especially a single room) by the facilities that have concluded a contract with the NFZ contrary to the constitutional principles of care for a pregnant woman (Article 68 paragraph 3 and Article 71 paragraph 2) and with the principle of equal access to healthcare services (Article 68 paragraph 2). Charging such fees is a violation of the law. It is also unlawful to charge for the stay and delivery in an above-standard room.

If the hospital breaks the law to the extent described above, this information should be reported to the National Health Fund. You can also bring a lawsuit in a civil court for compensation for the damage you have suffered.

More in: the perinatal standard is the ordinance of the Minister of Health, which sets out the procedures for the care of a woman and a child during physiological pregnancy, physiological delivery, puerperium and care for the newborn (Journal of Laws No. 187 of 7.10.2010 item 1259).