To improve accessibility of healthcare services outside of Riga, it is planned to expand the range of medical specialists who are eligible for financial support when choosing to work in regions, as reported by Healthcare Ministry.
During a meeting of state secretaries on Thursday, 18 July, amendments were announced to relevant Cabinet of Ministers requirements.
If they decide to work outside Riga, medical specialist can become eligible for financial support. Latvia’s Healthcare Ministry has created such a mechanism together with support from Europe’s Social Fund. This means medical specialists who agree to work outside Riga for at least five years, providing state-paid healthcare services will be eligible for a single-time relocation compensation (including every family member) and financial support for the first two years to cover living costs. For example, a married doctor with two children would receive a compensation worth EUR 12 200 for working outside Riga.
The ministry notes that until now the general level of interest has been high. However, to make healthcare services more accessible outside of Riga, especially in dentistry, it is planned to further expand the range of specialists eligible for support.
It is planned that compensation for working in regions will be made available to specialists from State Forensic Science Centre and State Blood Donors Centre, dentists who wish to provide services in regions, as well as specialists working at state social care and rehabilitation institutions, doctors, assistant doctors, physiotherapists and nurses. For example, when it comes to dentistry Healthcare Ministry hopes this way it is possible to motivate dentists to provide services outside of Riga for at least five years and thereby resolve the problem of shortage of child dentistry services in Latvia’s regions.
Since July 2018, when the first agreement was reached, a total of 320 compensation requests have been signed. The ministry reports that 320 doctors have left to work in Latvia’s regions, including 49 doctors, 45 nurses, 157 assistant nurses and 60 assistant doctors. The volume of compensations paid to doctors so far reaches EUR 2.43 million. The majority of specialists have left for Vidzeme and Latgale.
This form of support for medical personnel ready to work outside Riga will remain accessible until the end of 2023.