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Wednesday 20.02.2019 | Name days: Smuidra, Vitauts, Smuidris
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Healthcare reform allegedly helped reduce patient queues by 42%

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAs a result of the recent healthcare reform, patient queues to specialists have reduced by an average of 42%. Nevertheless, wait lists to some specialists remain quite long, says Latvia’s Healthcare Minister Anda Čakša.

The largest queues for physical examinations have reduced by 33%, whereas queues for services in day-care centres have reduced by 68%, said the minister, adding that queues for day-care centre services were the largest before the reform. The average wait time for queues was 407 days on average before the reform. The wait time has been reduced to 132 days on average at the beginning of 2018.

The minister admits that waiting time for day-care centres remains long, reaching 500 days for some services. For example, the waiting line for a consultation with an ophthalmologist in Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital’s Bikernieki day-care centre used to be 5,000 days and is now 560 days (a decline of 89%).

Čakša believes accomplished results – the noticeable reduction of queues – show that the reform’s chosen direction is correct. «I feel satisfied, because the main aspects – accessibility of healthcare services and doctors’ wages – have been successfully realized,» said the minister.

She explains that there were 17 doctors to which patient queues we the longest. These specialists include endocrinologist, gynaecologist, cardiologist, rheumatologist, ophthalmologist, traumatologist, orthopaedist, vascular surgeon, gastroenterologist, urologist, child surgeon, microsurgery, cardiologist, surgeon, pneumologist, otolaryngologist, narcologist and neurologist. To resolve this problem, the government invested EUR 3.4 million, which helped reduce patient queues by 42% – from 100 to 58 days.

EUR 7.5 million has been invested to reduce patient queues to healthcare services like computed tomography, resonance, mammography, angiography, radiography, radiation therapy and others. This funding has helped reduce waiting time by 33% (from 40 to 27 days).

It is now possible to gain access to x-ray screening, mammography and electrocardiography within ten days.

The healthcare minister says that there is still a lot left to do before Saeima elections.


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  1. Zerry says:

    Some backgrounds for this why the reform shortens lines. Reducing the number of medical operations from state compensations causes that many people do not have money enough to get a needed operation. This gives a reason to force down hospitals and it definitely shorten lines. Cheap and effective in same package. And as a bonus it makes politicians look like they would have done a good job – as long as the reality is not widely known.
    Meanwhile regional hospitals have lack of state funding or so to say ”too many” patients to take care of. That means the hospital needs to save own cost to take care of their core duties – patients. Minimal personnel, minimal salaries etc. etc. Practically the personnel somehow needs to sponsor operational work. In some western country that would be a public shame and kind of a disaster. But in Latvia it is called well done reform. All the respect to medical workers who can perform with such a situation.

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