The Latvian statutory healthcare system is based on general tax-financed healthcare provision with a mix of public and private service providers. The National Health Service (Nacionālais veselības diensts, NVD) is a key institution in terms of the implementation of health policies, administering the financial resources of the state, determining the contents of the benefits package and contracting with healthcare service providers.
The NVD contracts with a variety of service providers, which may be public or private. Most primary care physicians practice their profession as independent professionals and have their own practices. Almost all dental practices and pharmacies are private.
You can obtain medically necessary treatment by presenting the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), when you are temporarily staying in Latvia. Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that cannot wait for your return home. You may need such treatment in case of acute illness or accident. You can also receive treatment related to pregnancy and childbirth or to a chronic illness. The need for treatment must emerge during the course of your stay. If your illness requires regular treatment while you are temporarily staying abroad, agree with the treatment provider beforehand on the arrangement of treatment. Treatments that need to be arranged in advance include, for example, dialysis, oxygen therapy, specialised care of asthma and chemotherapy as well as echocardiography in chronic autoimmune diseases.
You will receive treatment on the same terms and at the same price as the locals. It is advisable to carry copies of your European Health Insurance Card with you, along with the card itself. If you didn’t have your EHIC with you or it was not accepted, and you were required to pay all the costs of treatment yourself, you might be able to apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively.
In Latvia, the public health system is the responsibility of the National Health Service (Nacionālais veselības diensts, NVD). If a healthcare service provider has a contract with NVD, NVD will reimburse costs of treatment directly to the service provider and the patient will be charged only a small standard fee at the place of treatment. Information about EU citizens´ entitlement to hospital treatment in Latvia can be obtained by calling +371 67045005 or by contacting the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Private health services are also provided in Latvia. These facilities do not have a contract with NVD, and therefore the costs of treatment are not reimbursed in Latvia.
See a general practitioner who has an agreement with NVD. Show your European Health Insurance Card and ID at the appointment. You will be charged a patient contribution. In order to obtain treatment by a specialist, you will usually need a referral from a general practitioner. The patient contribution is slightly higher for an appointment with a specialist than a general practitioner. Treatment from general practitioners and specialists is free for those under 18, expectant mothers in the case of pregnancy-related care and several patient groups with a certain diagnosis.
In Latvia, state-funded dental care is only available for children. Adult patients pay the full price.
To obtain medication, you need a special prescription form written by a doctor working under contract to the NVD. To collect the medicine, go to a pharmacy that has a contract with the NVD. In addition to the prescription, show your European Health Insurance Card and ID at the pharmacy. The level of reimbursement depends on the nature of the illness treated and the reference prices laid down in Latvia. Some medicines are not eligible for reimbursement at all. Reimbursement is sought retrospectively, once you return home.
You can access hospital treatment if you have a doctor´s referral. In emergencies, you can go directly to a public hospital. For in-patient treatment, you will be charged a patient fee starting from the second day staying in the hospital. There are additional fees applied for diagnostic examinations like CT examinations and MRI. Show your European Health Insurance Card and ID at the hospital.
Emergency ambulance transport is free of charge if the ambulance is sent by the 113 service and you present your European Health Insurance Card.
If your illness requires you to use special transport when returning to Finland, you will be liable for the travel costs in their entirety. You are recommended to take out a travel insurance that covers these costs.
Read more about suddenly falling ill in Europe.
Read more about reimbursement of costs of treatment abroad.
If you wish to travel to Latvia for the purpose of using healthcare services you can find general information on seeking treatment abroad on our site. More useful information is also provided on the website of the Latvian Contact Point.
Quality and safety of treatment
The Health Inspectorate supervises healthcare services provided within the country. In particular, the quality and availability of treatment as well as the competence of healthcare professionals are subject to supervision.
If you feel you have received incorrect or inadequate treatment in Latvia, settle the matter primarily with the treatment facility that provided the care. If the issue requires follow-up measures, you can lodge a complaint with the Health Inspectorate. Additional information about the complaint procedure is available on the website of the Latvian Contact Point.