Poland's healthcare system is based on an all-inclusive insurance system. State subsidised healthcare is available to all Polish citizens who are covered by this general health insurance program. However, it is not compulsory to be treated in a state-run hospital as a number of private medical complexes do exist nationwide.
All medical service providers and hospitals in Poland are subordinate to the Polish Ministry of Health, which provides oversight and scrutiny of general medical practice as well as being responsible for the day to day administration of the healthcare system. In addition to these roles, the ministry is also tasked with the maintenance of standards of hygiene and patient-care.
Hospitals in Poland are organised according to the regional administrative structure, resultantly most towns have their own hospital (Szpital Miejski). Larger and more specialised medical complexes tend only to be found in major cities, with some even more specialised units located only in the capital, Warsaw. However, all voivodeships have their own general hospital (most have more than one), all of which are obliged to have a trauma centre; these types of hospital, which are able to deal with almost all medical problems are called 'regional hospitals' (Szpital Wojewódzki). The last category of hospital in Poland is that of specialised medical centres, an example of which would be the Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology, Poland's leading, and most highly specialised centre for the research and treatment of cancer.
The Polish heal-care industry is currently undergoing a major transformation, with many hospitals being listed as top priorities for refurbishment. As a result of this process, many hospitals have already been thoroughly modernised throughout and are now equipped with the latest in medical hardware. The overall quality of healthcare provision nationwide, as judged by European standards, is generally regarded as being very high. This is reflected in the nation's average life expectancy, which at 71 for males and 80 for females has shown a marked increase from 63/68 in 2003, and now corresponds with the average figures for life expectancy in the European Union.