The number of foreign patients who use medical services in Latvia increases every year. Last year, the total number of foreign patients reached 10,795 which is by 18 % more than in 2015. In turn, the income also increased.
The Medical Tourism Centre data shows that in 2015 foreign patients for the services provided at the clinics of the Baltic Care Medical Tourism Centre alliance paid in total EUR 1,346,413.41, whilst in 2016 the amount was EUR 2,189,548.46 constituting an increase by 37 % in comparison to 2015.
The target markets have remained the same — neighbouring countries Estonia and Lithuania (8 %), former CIS countries (11 %) — Belarus, Ukraine, some Caucasian and Middle Eastern countries — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, as well as Scandinavian countries (10 %) and Russia (24 %). Foreign patients from Western Europe mostly come from Germany (5 %), the United Kingdom and Ireland (12 %). Last year, foreign patients from 61 countries received medical services in Latvia.
Medical services with the biggest demand still are diagnostics and specialist consultations (24 %), children’s health care (15 %), dentistry (7 %), and dermatology and aesthetic medicine services (5 %). Whilst fertility treatment (35 %), plastic surgery (13 %), oncology (9 %), orthopaedics (9 %) are the fields that make up the largest proportion of income (from one patient).
"It would be greatly exaggerated if we talked about Latvia as a medical superpower because there is still much to do. The statistical data is neither good, nor bad; it simply indicates the trends and sectors which we should improve and develop.
We appreciate the increase in number of foreign patients in our clinics which is why we work on creating a highly available environment to foreigners. High quality and level of service along with technological availability are without a doubt the top three priorities." states Māris Rēvalds, Member of the Board of the Medical Tourism Centre.
Foreign patients mention number of factors which have determined their choice for seeking medical services specifically in Latvia, for example, convenient travel routes to Riga and the fact that there is practically no language barrier as the medical staff can easily communicate in English and Russian. One of the most important factors is the availability of specialists and medical equipment as well as the balance between quality and price. Latvia offers wide range of modern medical services for prices that often are three to six times lower than in Western Europe or Scandinavia. Particularly in recent years, when we have witnessed changes in geopolitical situation in the world, many foreigners see Latvia as a safe and comfortable place to be, unlike other Western European countries.
A significant role play the clinics which offer services unique to the Baltic region that also serves as a factor of attraction for foreign patients. For example, Stereotactic Radiosurgery Center Sigulda with its CyberKnife® M6 is the only clinic in the Baltic States which provides the most state-of-the-art technology for the treatment of tumours. It is a highly precise robotic system that ensures comfort during the procedure, and synchronises with patient's breathing during the radiation, thus ensuring a higher quality radiation therapy. Valter’s Eye Prosthetic Laboratory is another unique clinic. It is the only ocular prosthetics company in the Baltic States which for over 20 years has offered its patients different types of individual glass and synthetic ocular prosthesis. Whereas iVF Riga clinic offers the services of its iVF Riga
Genetic Center and the Plastic Surgery Clinic offers fat tissue re-injection in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery.
The Baltic Care Medical Tourism Centre was established in 2009. The leading companies in medical sector in Latvia have come together in this project and currently the ones taking the most active part are the following: Baltic Vein Clinic and Dermatology Clinic of Health Center 4, Plastic Surgery clin, medical company Medicīnas sabiedrība ARS, and its affiliate ARS Diagnostikas klīnika, Digestive Diseases Centre GASTRO, EGV Clinic, Valter’s Eye Prosthetic Laboratory, Latvian American Eye Center, Capital Clinic Riga, ORTO clinic, Children`s Clinical University Hospital, iVF Riga clinic, Stereotactic Radiosurgery Center Sigulda and RubenHair Baltika.