Patients to be prioritized by urgency

Health Minister Guntis Belēvičs supports the ministry's new plan to prioritize patients by urgency in waiting lists to state-funded healthcare services, reported Latvian Television (LTV) Monday.

The minister was not ready to defend the new plan in front of the camera, however he expressed support for it in writing.

The new way of organizing queues, revealed by LTV's "De Facto" Sunday, was rolled out silently around Christmas and could come into force July 1. 

Answering whether he supports sorting patients into groups, Belēvičs wrote: "Yes, because in a condition of insufficient funding, acute patients should be given priority to receive state-funded healthcare services."

Family physicians will have the authority to say who gets to the doctor first.

Medics "De Facto" spoke to said the new plan is a "wartime method" and could increase the number of acute cases.

In early February people were seen elbowing their way into queues in the Austrumu Hospital to secure a spot for scarce yet potentially lifesaving services like diagnostic tests. 

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