In order to discuss the current situation in the activities of family doctors and the necessary systemic solutions in the long term, on Thursday, December 29, the Minister of Health Līga Menģelsone met with the representatives of the Latvian Association of Rural Family Physicians and the Latvian Association of Family Physicians during the first familiarization visit.
“Family doctor’s practices throughout Latvia are facing an increase in resource prices, incl. practice maintenance expenses. For some, bills are critical this winter. Family doctors are the foundation of primary health care. Therefore, an important issue is not only the salary, but also the workload of family doctors – both at this moment, when cases of upper respiratory tract infections, flu and Covid-19 are increasing dramatically in society, and in general, looking at the range of family doctor services. Also, an important issue on my agenda will be work on the succession of family doctors’ practices and work with municipalities to support family doctors’ practices in rural areas,” the Minister of Health admitted after the meeting.
During the meeting, the minister discussed the financing of the third employee in practices with the representatives of the associations of family doctors. During the pandemic, the government had given GPs extra money to hire a third person. In approximately 300 practices that have used this opportunity, it has been proven that by organizing practice work in this way, doctors have the opportunity to devote more undivided time to quality consultation and treatment of patients. Funds for hiring a third employee are provided only until January.
Līga MenĐelsone: “The active process of creating the budget for 2023 has started, and I hope that the government will also assess the need for a third employee.”
It should be added that the Minister of Health will regularly meet with both organizations representing family doctors and other organizations, as well as actively involve them in the development of the ministry’s policy planning documents.