WONCA Europe support to the Rural Family Doctors' Association of Latvia


Dr. Ainis Dzalbs, The vice-president of the Rural Family Doctors Association of Latvia WorldHealth Organization Europe, Regional DirectorDrHansHenriP.Kluge  

European Commission, President Ursula von der Leyen 

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Secretary-General Mathias Cormann TheEuropeanRural andIsolated Practitioners Association, President OlegKravtchenko  TheEuropean Forum forPrimary Care, Coordinator ofthe ForumDiederik Aarendonk  The Latvian Medical and Dental Association, President Prof Dr Ugis Gruntmanis 

Date: 11th April 2023 

Dear Colleagues, 

We write to you on behalf of WONCA Europe, an international association of 50 specialist colleges in Family  Medicine from across Europe. We would like to express our sincere concern about the state of primary care  in Latvia, particularly within rural areas. We are aware of the significant workload and workforce shortages that family physicians are facing in Latvia, despite their ongoing efforts to propose solutions to improve the  situation over a number of years. 

Lativa, as a member state of the World Health Organisation, has committed to developing a healthcare  system based on robust primary care. Strong primary health care can meet 70% to 90% of a person's health  needs throughout their life course. Evidence suggests that healthcare systems that are based on primary  care can have higher quality and safety of care, improved population health, reduced mortality rates, and  significantly lower national healthcare costs. Conversely, a weak and ineffective primary health care system  will drive an increased demand for secondary and tertiary health services, which are much more costly and  can overload hospitals. 

We are outraged by the apparent lack of willingness on the part of the Latvian authorities to resolve this  primary care crisis. This practice will undoubtedly lead to unsafe patient care, increased burnout rates  among healthcare workers, difficulties in recruiting new and young family physicians, and ongoing  emigration of Latvian healthcare workers. Furthermore, inadequate primary healthcare coverage has  significant implications for health security and the international health reputation of Latvia as a modern  European nation.

Therefore, we appeal to the Latvian health authorities to actively engage in finding solutions to the problem.  The Rural Family Doctors' Association of Latvia has proposed well-defined and balanced short- and long term solutions. We expect the authorities and all other relevant stakeholders to engage in constructive  dialogue to address the situation. 

We are willing to cooperate and provide our expertise and experience through a meeting with the national  stakeholders. Let us work together to ensure that every Latvian can access safe, high-quality primary care  services. 



Prof. Dr. Shlomo Vinker 

WONCA Europe President

Click here to view orginal letter.

It was sent to

 The Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia, Mr. Krisjanis Karins
The Minister for Finance of the Republic of Latvia, Mr. Arvils Aseradens 
The Minister for Health of the Republic of Latvia, Mrs. Liga Mengelsone 
The Speaker of the Saeima, Mr. Edvards Smiltens