President talks healthcare reform on return from illness

President Raimonds Vejonis marked his return to official duties Wednesday with a press conference at the Jūrmala residency, 72 days after undergoing a heart operation, reported Latvian Television.

He said he's happy to return to his duties fully and thanked the public for their support. He thanked the doctors, praising their "golden hands" and stressing the need to ensure higher wages for medicine specialists.

Answering a question of whether members of the public, should they fall ill like the president did, could receive medical care of a similar quality, Vējonis said that any inhabitant of Latvia can receive emergency medical care. 

He also said it's important to go through with healthcare reform, ensuring availability of medical services for all inhabitants, likely referring to waiting lists for medical services formed due to insufficient funding for state-sponsored services like diagnostic tests. 

Latvia's president Raimonds Vējonis underwent heart surgery on January 20 due to a sepsis infection in one of his heart valves, which was replaced with an artificial one in an operation.

He has been recovering since, meeting the Prime Minister regularly, signing documents and following the goings-on in the country.

In late February he left the hospital and continued rehabilitation at the Vaivari health care center. 

The nation has been very sympathetic to the president's illness, with get well wishes pouring out on social media.

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