Once issued, register the S1 form with the relevant authority in Latvia. Often you need to do this before you can register for healthcare or obtain a medical card.

Keep your family safe with this guide to plant hazards, and find out what to do if someone is affected

Dolby Vivisol: covers the South of England. Call them on 0500 823 773.

Your EHIC does not cover private treatment, so make sure you are treated by a state healthcare provider. You should be particularly careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable.

The State SystemThe Latvian health service is financed through national taxation. Local governments have a minimum amount they must spend on healthcare each year; they can exceed this amount but not fall short of it and they are unable to opt out of the state system.

Doctors and Health Centres Doctors are called doctorates and three quarters of them are women. Citizens can register with the doctor of their choice and are free to change up to twice a year. Truthfully, it is only city dwellers that actually have a choice because rural areas have few GPs.  People seeking state medical care must make sure that their doctor is contracted into the state scheme.

With an account you can keep track of pages on the site and save them to this tab, which you can access on every page when you are logged in.

Like in the UK, you need a GP or specialist referral to be admitted to hospital in non-emergency situations.

District hospitals provide treatment for adults, paediatric care, treatment of infectious diseases, surgery and obstetrics. They have in and outpatient facilities and the people who staff them work for fixed salaries. The directors of city and district hospitals are appointed by the local health authorities.

The persons who are not mentioned in point 17 of the present law on Medical Treatment, receive medical services at a charge in accordance with the pricelist of a medical institution or the pricelist of services which are to be paid for, provided by a medical specialist.

A promising area is the export of health care services, in the form of medical tourism. Given the competitive salaries, high quality medical services, excellent transport links to major cities in Western Europe, Russia and the CIS, and Latvia’s already excellent reputation in Russia as a spa destination, this sector certainly has great potential.

Dentists Dental care in Latvia is mainly in the hands of private practitioners. Some dental treatment for children is available through the state healthcare system; otherwise, all treatment must be paid for out-of-pocket.

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The European Commission has developed a useful multi-language free phone app, which explains how to use the EHIC card in different countries within the EU. It summarises the treatments, costs, procedure for reimbursement and emergency numbers.

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Latvia, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in Latvia. Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for more details:

Health care system in Latvia is based on the residence principle.

Dental services are not provided under the Latvian NHS. Ensure you have an adequate health insurance policy to cover you for any dental treatment necessary in Latvia.

You will need to speak to the co-ordinator in your UK Dialysis Unit, who will contact the dialysis unit in Latvia nearest to where you will be staying. You can look up UK renal units on The Renal Association website.

Foreigners immigrating to Latvia without jobs must produce proof of private health insurance in order to obtain their residence permit.

Your home oxygen supplier is not required to provide a service outside the UK; however, most suppliers can advise you on what to do. Your oxygen treatment clinic will organise your home oxygen supply from one of these suppliers:

NGO "Shelter “Safe House”"Lacplesa street 75 - 9/10, Riga, LV-1011

If you live in Latvia and you receive an exportable UK Pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 form.

Consultants Consultants are senior doctors who have completed a higher level of specialised training. GP's refer patients to a Consultant if he believes that a patient may need specialist help and diagnosis. There are numerous specialist fields of medicine in Latvia, like gynaecology, oncology, paediatrics and dermatology. There is often a waiting list to see a Consultant doctor and they only work on a part-time basis.

Patients are free to choose the hospital they want to receive their treatment in, but require referrals from a GP. There are many specialist hospitals and each region has one for mental health, rehabilitation and tuberculosis. The conditions in some hospitals are poor.

You may need to liaise with a different team, depending on the exportable benefit. Further information is available under claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on the GOV.UK website. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

Patients have to sign an agreement with their hospital if they are to receive treatment. The agreements outline the potential costs. The remaining costs are covered by the health fund. Prescription medicine is not free, but drugs for some conditions, like diabetes are free. People affected by the Chernobyl disaster are also exempt from prescription payments.

More information can be found at www.vsaa.lv

Most town and city-based doctors operate out of health centres, which are owned by the local authorities. Rural clinics tend to be staffed by a doctor, a paediatrician, a dentist, a midwife, nurses and medical assistants. Some large companies and the military also have their own in-house clinic.

BOC: covers the East and North East of England. Call them on 0800 136 603.

In the event of an emergency in Latvia, you can call 112. This call is free of charge from any landline or mobile phone. 24-hour urgent care is available at all hospitals and also some health centres (called Poliklinika). 

Visit the Latvian National Health Services website (Nacionālais veselības dienests) for more detailed information about accessing health services, patient contributions and refunds (information is available in English). Alternatively, you can call the free information services available to all Latvian citizens by phoning 80001234 or if you are calling from abroad phone 00371- 6704-5005 (8.30am - 5pm on weekdays). 

Health Care In Latvia

A comprehensive source of information about travelling to Europe.

Additional information at:Ministry of Health: www.vm.gov.lvRīgas Stradiņa University (medical institution): www.rsu.lv/eng/

Since 2012 performance has improved considerably, with a reduction in infant mortality from 6.2 per thousand births to 3.9 in two years. [6]

- Cost considerations and NHS funding - Choosing a clinic or surgeon - What if something goes wrong?

Latvia’s health-care sector has undergone restructuring and budget cuts aimed at increasing efficiency and facilitating the introduction of additional private health care options. The potential of the sector lies in the combination of highly qualified personnel, low costs and first-rate facilities. Medical tourism is an emerging sector, building on Latvia’s reputation as a spa destination, its convenient location and the availability of high-standard health services at a low cost.

The Basic Care Programme states the free care available for all citizens and registered foreigners in the country. It covers care of serious diseases, preventive healthcare, child and maternity care, emergency treatment, the treatment of sexually transmitted and infectious disease, surgery, rehabilitation, immunisation programmes and free prescription medicine to entitled groups. Free dental treatment is available for the under 18’s. 

The Latvian healthcare system is a universal programme, largely funded through government taxation.[1] It was among the lowest-ranked healthcare systems in Europe, due to excessive waiting times for treatment, insufficient access to the latest medicines, and other factors.[2] There were 59 hospitals in Latvia in 2009, down from 94 in 2007, and 121 in 2006.[3][4][5]

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Ensure your EHIC is valid before you travel. In most cases, you will have to use the authorised oxygen company for the country you are travelling to. You’ll also have to make your own arrangements, including arranging for permission from your hotel to deliver and install the equipment. There may also be additional costs that the EHIC will not cover.