Author: Ketija Fogele Source: Medical Tourism Center Baltic Care
According to the data of 2015, 8’868 international patients for the total sum of EUR 1’346’413 have been serviced in 14 Latvian leading clinics of the healthcare alliance "Medical Tourism Centre Baltic Care". In comparison with 2014, an increase of the number of patients by 10.5% is observed, but income for medical services provided to international patients has increased by 6.5% within a year. By providing unique, high-level medical services in the Baltic region and attracting international patients, Latvian medical institutions enhance visibility of the image of Latvia and promote development of national economy.
Scandinavian countries, the Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus as well as neighbouring countries – Lithuania and Estonia are the target markets from where international patients arrive to Latvia for medical treatments. The most popular services are health check-up programs, including oncologic health control programs, specialist consultations and diagnostics, vein treatment, infertility treatment, traumatology and orthopaedics, plastic surgery and dermatology, stomatology and ophthalmology.
A positive aspect is that the number of medical services that international patients choose while visiting Latvia increases. On average, one international patient in addition to specialist consultations performs also examinations while staying in Riga.
If, for example, the number of tourists from Russia who visited Latvia decreased by 31%* in 2015, then the number of Russian patients serviced in Baltic Care alliance clinics, as compared with 2014, increased by 10% - 18%, depending on the clinic. Inhabitants of CIS countries, including Russia, especially appreciate the transparent price policy – unlike Russia, Belarus, in Latvia prices for medical services are available to the public and equal both for inhabitants of Latvia and international patients. Similar to previous years, approximately half of international patients arrived to Latvia from Western Europe and Scandinavian countries, the other half – from CIS countries.
There are several reasons in favour of Latvian clinics named by the international patients, and they vary depending on the country from which the patient has arrived. Majority of patients points out the convenient and comfortable arrival to Riga, safe environment, practically no language barrier - medical staff easy communicates in English and Russian. Sometimes particular services or treatment methods are not available in the home country of the patient. However, one of the most significant factors for international patients is the wide and contemporary medical possibilities for prices that are 3 – 7 times lower than in the capitals of Western Europe, Scandinavian countries and also Russia, Moscow particularly.
Māris Rēvalds, Member of the Board, "Medical Tourism Centre Baltic Care", and Chairman of the Board, "Health Center 4", emphasizes: "By developing export of medical services – introducing the latest medical technologies and international quality management systems of medical institutions, as well as increasing the service level for patients – inhabitants of Latvia benefit first of all. Another significant matter is that our specialists are interested in stay and work in Latvia
In 2015, several clinics of alliance Baltic Care expanded – ORTO clinic opened a Rehabilitation centre in Pārdaugava, medical company "Medicīnas sabiedrība ARS" performs reconstruction in the historical "Red Cross Hospital" in Riga and opened diagnostics clinic "ARS Diagnostikas klīnika" that specializes in early breast cancer and gastrointestinal cancer diagnostics, as well as non-invasive kidney stone treatment (lithotripsy). Infertility treatment clinic "iVF Rīga" opened the only "Reproductive Genetics Centre" in the Baltic region – development that is a significant possibility both for the medicine in Latvia and state economy in general to provide unique medical services in the Baltic region.
As to oncology, speaking in astronautics terms, Latvia has its own "Baikonur" – "Stereotactic Radiotherapy Centre Sigulda" and CyberKnife® M6 that is the only one in the Baltics to offer the latest and state-of-the-art technology in tumour treatment. It is a robotic, careful, high-precision, breathing-synchronized precise patient radiosurgery system that elevates the possibilities of radiotherapy to a much higher level.
"Medical Tourism Center Baltic Care" was established in 2009. "Health Center 4" (Veselības centrs 4) and its affiliates "Baltic Vein Clinic" (Baltijas Vēnu klīnika) and "Dermatology Clinic" (Dermatoloģijas klīnika), "Plastic Surgery Clinic" (Plastikas ķirurģijas klīnika), "Medicīnas sabiedrība "ARS"" and its affiliate "ARS Diagnostikas klīnika", "Digestive Deseases center Gastro" (Gremošanas slimību centrs "Gastro), infertility treatment clinics "EGV Clinic" (Klīnika EGV) and "iVF Riga Clinic" (iVF Riga Klīnika), eye prosthesis laboratory "Valtera protēžu laboratorija", "Latvian American Eye Center", (Latvijas Amerikas Acu centrs), "Capital Clinic Riga", traumatology and orthedeadics clinic "ORTO Clinic" (ORTO klīnika), "Children Clinical University Hospital" (BKUS) and "RubenHair Baltika".
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