Survey suggests Latvians don't rush to doctor when feeling off

51% of Latvian residents have postponed going to the doctor at least once this year even if they had worrying symptoms, in the hope that the symptoms will resolve themselves, according to a survey conducted by the research center Norstat in cooperation with

The poll took place between November 9 and 15, quizzing 1,003 respondents. These data are representative of Latvian residents aged 18-74 who use the Internet at least once a week.

According to survey data, 13% of men and 11% of women postponed going to the doctor at least once, 18% of men and 23% of women postponed a doctor's appointment two to three times, while 16% of men and 19% of women postponed a doctor's appointment more than three times.

28%, of men and 24% of women responded that they had not experienced such a situation this year.

Meanwhile, 16% of men and 17% of women said they never postponed seeing a doctor, while 8% of the respondents could not provide a specific answer.

Among age groups, in case of worrying symptoms this year, those aged 18-29 postponed a visit most often. 56% of respondents in this age group postponed the doctor's visit at least once. The least likely to postpone a visit were those in the age group 40-49 years. Latvian Association of General Practitioners told LSM the reason why this age group stands out among others could be because this age group is more aware of the impact of health loss on their quality of life and income, as well as understanding the risks and possibilities for preventing them.

Viewed by region, Latgale residents were the most likely to postpone going to the doctor – 56% of residents of the region have postponed the doctor's visit at least once this year, while the least likely to postpone were residents of Zemgale – 46% of those surveyed.

To call patients who have not been to the general practitioner for a long time, 5.5 million euros have been allocated from the state budget this year. When asked what reasons for not visiting the doctor are mentioned by those who have been called, the Association of General Practitioners indicated that they are different – for example, feel good and do not see the need for a visit, are too busy, use paid medical services, etc.

On the other hand, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) for 2022, people sometimes don't go to a doctor even when there is a need.

In 2022, 8 percent of men and 10.9 percent of women said they had skipped a medical examination or treatment, although there has been such a need. 23.7 percent of men and 25.5 percent of women did not get checked out because they could not afford it, according to CSB figures. The second most significant reason for not visiting the doctor was the excessively long queues for admission to specialists – 23.9% of men and 29% of women did not visit the doctor for this reason. Not going to see a doctor because they wanted to wait and see if they got better in time was indicated by 18.8 percent of men and 11.5 percent of women.

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