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Country-by-country guide

Accessing healthcare in Latvia

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. This means you may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access the necessary state-provided healthcare in Latvia at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment until you return to the UK. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, providing the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.

If you don't have your EHIC with you or you've lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.

Get the EHIC Smartphone App

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 travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment, please read our section on seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Find help in emergencies

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). 

Other important numbers to note down:

  • 113 – ambulance
  • 110 – police
  • 80001234 – Free-of-charge information service about state provided healthcare services. You can call this number weekdays from 8.30am - 5pm. 
  • 6616001 – GP out-of-hours consultation phone line. This is a service provided by the Latvian Ministry of Health, with the aim of giving residents access to medical advice and educational tips on how to handle minor illnesses instead of going to A&E.

Health services and costs

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.

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). 

Patients in Latvia have to make small patient contributions (a valsts nodeva) for NHS services. In most cases it is less than €10, but it can be more. For example, a visit to a GP is charged at €1.42. If you see a specialist, it will be a charge of € 4.24, and for treatments in a day clinic between €4.37 and € 7.11, depending on the treatment. Expect to be asked to pay the charge at the end of your visit and, in many cases, in cash.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary), as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund or reimbursement.

Hospital treatment

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

Dentists

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.

Prescriptions

Pharmacies in Latvian are called Aptieka. The cost of medicines is partly covered where they are prescribed by a doctor. Read the section about medicine to be reimbursed on the Latvian NHS website.

Making healthcare arrangements in advance

Although your EHIC covers the provision of oxygen, renal dialysis and routine medical care, you'll have to arrange and pre-book medical treatment before you travel. You should always consult your GP or hospital before travelling. Also ensure that you are not booked with a private healthcare provider, as these are not covered by the EHIC.

Oxygen therapy

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.

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:

Air Liquide: Call them on:

  • 0808 143 9991 for London
  • 0808 143 9992 for North West
  • 0808 143 9993 for East Midlands
  • 0808 143 9999 for South West

Baywater Healthcare: covers Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands and Wales. Call them on 0800 373 580. For more information, visit the Baywater Healthcare website.

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

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

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) may have additional oxygen contacts for the country you are travelling to. Their website offers general advice about how to make travel arrangements if you have a lung condition, including advice on:

  • travelling abroad with a lung condition
  • airline oxygen policies

Allow plenty of time to make all your arrangements before you travel.

Dialysis

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.

Ensure you make arrangements according to your UK schedule. There may be different guidance, depending on what type of dialysis you receive. Make sure you speak to your doctor before you travel. The National Kidney Federation website offers general advice about travelling with a kidney disease, as well as specific guidance for haemodialysis patients, peritoneal dialysis patients and guidelines for transplant patients.

Read more advice about travelling with other conditions:

Living in Latvia

If you are a worker seconded to Latvia or the family member of someone making UK National Insurance contributions, your employer should contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the following forms:

  • A1 – this will show that National Insurance contributions are paid in the UK
  • S1 (previously E106 or E109) – this will give you and your family the same medical cover as residents of Latvia

Note: Ensure when you submit the forms you mention relevant family members and dependants.

National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1AN
United Kingdom

  • Telephone: 0300 200 3506
  • Outside UK: +44 191 203 7010
  • Opening times: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday - closed weekends and bank holidays

For more information, visit the Moving abroad section.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides useful information about living in Latvia

Pensioners

If you are living in Latvia and you receive a UK State Pension, or any other benefit that can be paid to you when you move abroad (exportable benefit), you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You'll need to apply for form S1 (a certificate of entitlement) from the International Pension Centre, which can be reached on 0191 218 7777. Once issued, register the S1 form with Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) before you register with your local GP surgery.

Once you have registered your S1 in Latvia, you will be entitled to apply for and use a UK-issued EHIC to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries outside Latvia, including when you return to the UK.

Early retirees

Since July 1 2014, you are no longer able to apply for a residual S1 form.
If you already have a residual S1, this will not affect you – it will continue to be valid until its original expiry date. Find out more about the new rules.

Page last reviewed: 19/01/2015

Next review due: 19/01/2017

EHIC changes

You will no longer be able to claim a refund in the UK for most patient co-payments for treatment received after July 1 2014

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