Hospital reform plan in Latvia outlines liquidation of certain hospital wards in regions

The reform planned for Latvia’s network of hospitals includes the closure of maternity wards in Dobele and surrounding area hospital, as well as in Balvi and Gulbene association of hospitals, redirecting patients to Jelgava city and Rezekne hospitals maternity wards, respectively, as mentioned in the report prepared by the Ministry of Health on changes to the network of hospitals.
In parallel to all that, it is also planned to improve all hospitals’ Emergency Medical Service and Patient Admission Service to provide pregnant women with firs aid in the event of an emergency.

In 2022 obstetrical services were provided in 14 517 cases. Five healthcare institutions had less than 500 births. The Ministry of Health stresses that when planning availability of obstetrical service it is important to take into account territorial availability.

When it comes to traumatology and orthopaedics sector, the situation was the most critical in Latgale, according to the report. Traumatologist – orthopaedist services are almost unavailable in this region when compared with other regions. This is because none of the hospitals in Latgale have managed to attract specialists in this field. According to NMPD, patients from Latgale are brought to the Hospital of Traumatology and Orthopaedics in Riga or Riga’s 2nd Hospital. In Jekabpils patients are carried to Madona Hospital, which is not a regional hospital. However, this hospital does have traumatologists and orthopaedics.
The ministry plans to ensure the availability of traumatology and orthopaedics services in fourth and fifth level hospitals.

Gynaecology services are planned to be preserved in all hospitals that provide obstetrical services.

Because of existing demographic trends and continued ageing of the population, it is planned to maintain internal medicine profiles in hospitals of all levels.
There are also plans to maintain paediatric profile in all second to fifth level hospitals that meet requirements and criteria for quality. Hospitals that do not meet requirements will still maintain a paediatrician to provide emergency medical services and patient observation. To ensure better cooperation between hospitals, it is planned to establish closer cooperation between the Children’s Clinical University Hospital and regional hospitals, the report mentions.
The report is handed to various cooperation and social partners, as well as related ministries for review. Hospitals and other partners will be able to submit proposals and opinions about the plan. Individual meetings are arranged with hospitals to address all questions and planned changes, including medical profiles, numbers of specialists employed and funding, the Ministry of Health adds.
As previously reported, the Ministry of Health stresses that Latvia’s network of hospitals will be preserved – the changes will only affect the organisation of work there.
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