Anesthesia during birth will be available free for all mothers in Latvia

Take note – story published 1 year ago

As from 1 August, medical treatment institutions must provide epidural anesthesia free of charge for all women, regardless of whether there is a 'valid' medical reason, Ministry of Health decided on July 11.

There is currently a list of cases where a pregnant woman needs to be provided with anesthesia but it will be canceled as of August 1. The only reason to deny anesthesia would be contraindications or medical reasons in very rare cases, and that decision is to be taken by a specialist or anesthesiologist of the maternity authority.

The woman herself will also be able to refuse the anesthesia. 

If the treatment institution cannot offer State-paid epidural anesthetics due to a lack of the specialist administering it, the client must be informed prior to the provision of the service.

"This year, for the first time, we provided a separate and significant amount of funding of more than €1.3 million. No woman in labor should be hurt just because she can't afford painkillers financially," commented the Minister of Health, Daniels Pavļuts.

According to the Ministry, epidural anesthetics in labor for state resources are also provided in other Baltic states, which like Latvia have an insufficient number of anesthesiologists. The lack of anesthesiologists in the industry should be addressed by other methods than by narrowing the number of service recipients. The Ministry of Health and the National Health Service will work together with medical treatment institutions to prevent cases where the anesthesiologist is not available due to occupancy in the surgery room or in other emergency cases.

If before August 1 a woman has been refused State-paid epidural pain and the service has been provided as a fee service, but it is suspected that the payment has been claimed erroneously, it is possible to submit an application to the National Health Service.

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