Medical tourism in Latvia
Medical tourists – these are foreign patients who come to Latvia to receive medical services, have rehabilitation done, receive medical manipulation, operations, or to receive preventative health treatment. The potential of modern medicine, high quality of technical support and the professionalism of doctors in Latvia has earned great recognition. This is also proved by the steady increase in the number of foreign patients in the clinics, medical and rehabilitation centers of our country.
In 2009 Latvia started to attract the attention of patients from other countries. The main reason for this was due to the economic crisis, which also affected the medical sector. Private clinics, in cooperation with state and municipal authorities, came to a common opinion – the stability of the sector could be best ensured by attracting foreign patients. The alliance of Latvian private clinics - ‘’Baltic Care’’, was established, which unified the best specialists in Latvia, and ensured the ability to care for the health of patients in a high quality manner.
In the last few years, branches of ‘’Health Centre 4’’ have implemented: laser enucleation, the use of BioGlue in the treatment of varicose diseases, using digital mammography and tomosynthesis diagnostics in detecting early stage malignant breast cancer, using the latest ultrasonography for examinations, using the latest KT and MRT equipment, and also using laser systems made by the leading manufacturers in the world. It should also be taken into consideration that prices are significantly lower than those in Western Europe and the Scandinavian states.
Geography of medical tourism
In 2014 Latvia has been visited by about 300 thousand foreign patients, who come with the objective of receiving medical services in clinics as well as in our sanatoriums and rehabilitation centres. From year to year, this branch of medicine in Latvia occupies an increasingly stable position in the state economy*.
Latvia is attractive to foreign patients not only because of the level of modern medical services, but also because of relatively lower prices. For example, prices for venous operations and a full check-up program are 3-5 times cheaper than in Germany. The second advantage is the option to get an appointment with a specialist for examinations. It takes no more than two weeks from the moment when a patient has sent a request to the day of consultation or performance of manipulation. Foreign patients use the option of being picked up at the airport and transfer services to the clinic.
The number of patients is continuously growing from year to year. The largest increase, in comparison to 2013, was from Ukraine (+251%)**. Approximately one third of foreign patients come from Russia and in some clinics these patients constitute 45-47%. Latvia is also visited by patients from Germany, Great Britain and Ireland, as well as the Scandinavian states – Norway, Sweden and Finland.
* Magazine "Medical&Health Tourism", October-November/2014.
** Magazine „Недвижимость”, №212, July/2014, Interview with the mayor of Jurmala Gatis Truksnis.