Ministry of Health of the Republic of Latvia
The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Latvia was established on 1 February 2003.
Ministry of Health is the leading government authority in the health sector and it is responsible for public health, health care and pharmacy.
The Ministry of Health develops the national health policy, as well as organizes, coordinates and monitors its implementation. In order to secure execution of these functions the Ministry of Health develops regulations and policy planning documents, evaluates projects developed by other institutions, represents state interests in foreign and international institutions, informs the society about health policies and about the work of other health care institutions, as well as develops and defends national positions in the field of health care in the European Union.
Since June 16, 2016 Minister for Health is Anda Čakša.
The mission and vision of the Ministry of Health
The mission of the Ministry of Health is to improve health of the public, to educate the society on the importance of healthy lifestyle in preservation of health by holding educational events on prevention, by ensuring accessibility of high quality health care for every individual, as well as by continuing the improvement and development of medical education and science.
The vision of the Ministry of health is a governmental institution focused on cooperation and development, with motivated, costumer-oriented experts, who assist patients in receiving the best possible health care services.
Health care system in Latvia is based on the residence principle.
Negative list of benefits – the state pays for all services except those that are excluded from the scope.
Health care benefits are available at the state, municipality and private inpatient and outpatient health care institutions.
A patient should pay a contribution in order to receive health care.
Patient from the state budget and his own co-payments is provided with:
-General practitioner and his team provided health care and preventive visitation once a year;
-Specialist’s provided health care:
- Laboratory analysis and medical manipulations with the family doctor’s or specialist’s referral;
- Health care in the day stationary;
- Home care;
- Assistance of emergency medicine brigade;
- Emergency medical assistance in the hospitals and trauma centres;
- Health care in the emergency medical hospitals by providing more specialists support and necessary examinations;
- Care in the hospitals after treatment phase in the emergency medical hospitals, as well as in cases of exacerbation of chronic diseases;
- Rehabilitation after the treatment phase in the emergency medical hospitals or dynamic surveillance of the medical rehabilitation;
- Reimbursed medicines and medical devices.
The availability of health care services in Latvia is regulated by the Medical Treatment Act. It states that state-funded health care services may be also received by third country nationals with the permanent residence permits in Latvia. It is possible to receive the state-funded health care services only in those medical institutions that have an agreement with the National Health Service (NHS). Information on these medical institutions is available at the Internet site of the NHS. If you wish to check whether a particular medical institution has an agreement with the NHS, we advise you to contact the NHS.
If you have a temporary residence permit in Latvia you and your children are not entitled to the state-funded medical assistance and you will have to pay for these services yourself, using a health insurance policy where possible. If you use your health insurance policy, the costs of the health care services will be compensated according to the insurance conditions of your health insurer.
If you are a spouse of a Latvian citizen or a Latvian non-citizen with a temporary residence permit, you can receive care services for pregnant women and assistance in childbirth free of charge.
Receiving of emergency medical care is available to everyone in situations where the person’s health and life are under a threat. For third country nationals who are staying in Latvia with a temporary residence permit the emergency care is covered by the health insurance policy. The only exception is Ukrainian citizens and pensioners of the Russian Federation who may receive the emergency medical care free of charge under an agreement stipulated in an intergovernmental treaty.
To call for the emergency care in Latvia you have to call 113 or 112. It might be necessary to produce the health insurance policy in order to receive the emergency care therefore it is advisable that you always carry it with you.
PRIMARY HEALTH CARE
The permanent residents of Latvian, including foreigners with permanent residence permits, may enjoy health care services at a lower cost, provided the specialist physician is visited with a referral from the general practitioner. If you have a referral from the general practitioner or another specialist physician you can receive a state-funded consultancy from the specialist physician or diagnostic examination and pay only the patient fee. If you have a temporary residence permit the state does not ensure state-funded health care services for you and you have to cover the full cost of the visit to the specialist yourself or by means of your health insurance.
Registration with a general practitioner is not compulsory because primary health care services may be received from all physicians who provide the primary health care services. If you decide to register with a general practitioner you can do so both at the doctor’s office or at home if the doctor has arrived for a home visit. If you pay for health care services privately or through an insurance company you can choose freely the doctor and the medical institution where to receive health care services. Furthermore, you can also visit a specialist physician at once, without a referral from the general practitioner. The fee for the service in the case of a private visit may differ with different institutions and also for the services provided by different specialists (on average 20 – 60 EUR).
In accordance with Cabinet Regulation No. 1529 “Procedures for Organizing and Financing Health Care”, Article 83 provides primary health care services in the country:
83.1. Rīga (Rīga, Jūrmala, Ādažu county, Babītes county, Baldones county, Carnikavas county, Garkalnes county, Inčukalna county, Krimuldas county, Ķekavas county, Mālpils county, Mārupes county, Olaines county, Ropažu county, Salaspils county, Saulkrastu county, Sējas county, Siguldas county , Stopiņu county );
83.2. Kurzeme (Liepāja, Ventspils, Aizputes county, Alsungas county, Brocēnu county, Dundagas county, Durbes county, Engures county, Grobiņas county, Jaunpils county, Kandavas county, Kuldīgas county, Mērsraga county, Nīcas county, Pāvilostas county, Priekules county, Rojas county, Rucavas county, Saldus county, Skrundas county, Talsu county, Tukuma county, Vaiņodes county, Ventspils county);
83.3. Latgale (Daugavpils, Rēzekne, Aglonas county, Ciblas county, Dagdas county, Daugavpils county, Ilūkstes county , Kārsavas county, Krāslavas county, Līvānu county, Ludzas county, Preiļu county , Rēzeknes county, Riebiņu county, Vārkavas county, Viļānu county, Zilupes county);
83.4. Vidzeme (Valmiera, Alojas county, Alūksnes county, Amatas county , Apes county, Baltinavas county, Balvu county, Beverīnas county, Burtnieku county, Cēsu county, Cesvaines county, Ērgļu county , Gulbenes county, Jaunpiebalgas county, Kocēnu county, Līgatnes county, Limbažu county, Lubānas county, Madonas county, Mazsalacas county, Naukšēnu county, Pārgaujas county, Priekuļu county, Raunas county, Rugāju county, Rūjienas county, Salacgrīvas county, Smiltenes county, Strenču county, Valkas county, Varakļānu county, Vecpiebalgas county, Viļakas county);
83.5. Zemgale (Jelgava, Jēkabpils, Aizkraukles county, Aknīstes county, Auces county, Bauskas county , Dobeles county, Iecavas county, Ikšķiles county, Jaunjelgavas county, Jēkabpils county, Jelgavas county , Kokneses county , Krustpils county, Ķeguma county, Lielvārdes county, Neretas county, Ogres county, Ozolnieku county , Pļaviņu county, Rundāles county , Salas county , Skrīveru county, Tērvetes county, Vecumnieku county, Viesītes county).
State Emergency Medical Service
emergency medical aid – sudden illness or trauma presenting a threat to one’s life. To receive emergency medical aid in Latvia, call 113 or 112!
You can call for emergency medical help by calling the direct emergency number 113 or the European emergency telephone number 112.
When to call 113?
Call 113 immediately in a life threatening emergency. Including, but not limited to:
- loss of consciousness, cramps, no breathing
- serious injury
- severe bleeding
- sudden chest pain
- sudden, severe pain in any part of the body
- sudden weakness and can not feel one side of the body
- significant shortness of breath
Will I have to pay?
In a life threathening situation citizens of Latvia and several other countries are eligible for free emergency medical help provided by SEMS, including:
- citizens of European Union (EU) and Europe Economic Area (EEA) and their children if both personal identification and European Health insurance card (or valid subsitute certificate) are presented
- citizens of Swiss Confederation residing in Latvia due to employement or as self-employed and their family members (must present and ID and a document confirming the person’s relationship with public authority or company registered in Latvia)
- Ukranian citizens and their children (Ukranian ID must be presented)
- Ukranian rezidents and their children (ID and a permanent rezidence permit must be presented)
- persons who have granted a permenant rezidence permit in Latvia (ID and rezidence permit must be presented)
- refugees and their children (document stating a refugee status granted by Latvian Republic must be presented)
- persons with alternative status and their children (a document stating subsidary protection granted by Latvian Republic must be presented)
In case you do not belong to any of the groups mentioned above or can not present the required documentation for any reason at the time of emergency, you will be served a bill for Eur 93,91 (paid using bank transfer within 30 days).
Since we do understand it might be difficult to present the required documentation at the time of emergency, you may appeal to SEMS within 2 weeks after the emergency and present the documentation (alternatively you may send a scanned version to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Primary healthcare – at this level, a patient first meets with a provider of healthcare services. The Ministry of the Interior shall bear the cost of asylum seeker’s primary health care services.
Primary healthcare is provided by family doctors, paediatricians, nurses, assistant doctors, obstetricians and dentists. Together with a certified nurse or certified assistant doctor, a family doctor is able to provide healthcare at the family doctor’s practice or at your place of residence. A person with a temporary residence permit may freely choose what family doctor or specialist they visit.
To register with a family doctor, two copies of an agreement are filled out. If the patient is unhappy with their relationship with the family doctor, they may register with a different family doctor at any time.
Almost all doctors in Latvia are able to provide advice in a foreign language (Russian, English), however, one should check this before signing up at a doctor!
Inpatient residence at a hospital is a paid service.
Healthcare services in Latvia are provided by state, municipal, and private institutions (health centres, clinics, hospitals and doctors’ private practices).
Before you go to a doctor to receive state-covered healthcare services where only the patient’s contribution is paid, you can verify whether a given doctor or healthcare institution provides state-covered treatment by calling the toll-free number 80001234. More detailed information is available on www.vmnvd.gov.lv.