New Polish Cardiovascular Plan: Leading by Example

Joining the handful of countries that have a national plan on cardiovascular (CV) health, Poland adopted its innovative “National Program for Cardiovascular Diseases – National Cardiac Strategy for 2022-2032in January 2023. With a total budget of more than 3 billion PLN, the Plan puts emphasis on healthcare preparedness and early detection, aiming in expanding patient access to early detection, reliable information, novel treatment options and innovative therapies. However, it should be noted that the programme, although adopted only recently, has been finalised in mid-2022, therefore works on specific points included in the programme have already started.

The national plan is based on five main pillars, with the most important points related to the early diagnosis of CV diseases. This will be specifically addressed via increased investment in training of healthcare practitioners and in enhancing the capacities of the national healthcare system. By 2026, the Plan soughs to review and update the educational standards to increase the knowledge and skills of medical, nursing, midwifery and physiotherapy students. This includes in the field, amongst others, early detection of CVD. Experts have been working on legislative proposals to allow medical staff to obtain professional certificates in the fields of diagnostics, electrotherapy and interventional cardiology. Meanwhile, work is also being carried out to adapt medical specialization programs in CVD and to adapt medical programmes in the field of family and occupational medicine in order to align them with current international guidelines.

To support the national healthcare system the programme foresees developing and implementing standards and guidelines for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures as well as organisational criteria for medical entities that belong to the National Cardiac Network by 2026. To improve diagnostic methods of CVD patient care, the Plan also includes provisions for increased investments and modernisation of healthcare entities (including investment in diagnostics equipment).

This Plan comes at a critical moment to increase the knowledge and awareness among patients about cardiovascular diseases and to reduce morbidity and mortality of Poles due to cardiovascular diseases, which constitute the main cause of death in Poland and worldwide.