Patient rights in Latvia are regulated by the Law on Patient Rights which is based on the patients’ rights to receive information and treatment and to refuse from treatment, rights to choose the doctor or medical institution, rights to protection of their data and quality medical care.
The Law on Patient Rights which is the fundamental document that regulates the rights of patients and assures observation of the rights and statutory interests of patients.
The Law on Patient Rights establishes that every individual in Latvia, regardless of their age, nationality, or social status, is entitled:
- to opt for their doctor and medical institution for prevention, diagnosis, treatment for various medical conditions or injuries, and for rehabilitation;
- to register with a primary care doctor (general practitioner) and change their primary care doctor;
- to receive quality, kind and respectful treatment and care;
- to receive emergency medical care;
- to receive from the doctor understandable information about their health, including regarding the diagnosis, examination and treatment plan, the alternative treatment methods and the estimates regarding the disease, as well as explanations for the meaning of the entries in the medical records;
- to access their medical records, receive excerpts for the results of the performed examinations, except for the cases when the doctor has information or facts allowing to suspect that the receipt of the information might present significant risks to the life or health of the patient or other individuals;
- to receive all types of information regarding the healthcare service provision procedures and costs; to refuse from the offered examination or treatment before or during the treatment as well as to refuse from any method used as part of the treatment plan, without, however, refusing from treatment in general (any such refusal shall be clearly stated in writing);
- to confidentiality, i.e., to be certain that no information about their health would be disclosed to any third parties;
- if necessary, to receive a referral to another specialist or a referral to an in-patient facility, to enjoy rights to timely and successive treatment. However, when required by the patient, but the doctor has no medical reason for referral of the patient to another specialist or an in-patient facility, this shall be a paid service to the patient according to the approved pricelist of the medical institution;
- to apply for home visits;
- to receive information about opportunities to receive medical care and substitutes during any absence of the doctor (vacation, holiday, business trip, studies).
Along with the rights, each patient has obligations.
The key obligation of the patient is to care for their health and get actively involved in the treatment process, and to provide the doctor with all information necessary for the treatment. The internal procedures of the chosen medical institution applicable to the patient as well as the instructions given by the healthcare professional shall be binding upon all patients, provided that the patient has been duly familiarised with such procedures.
Among other obligations, the patient shall also be obliged to pay for the received services and respect the rights of other patients. The Law on Protection of Personal Data establishes that, in order to protect the interests of the person, the processing of personal data shall be assured exclusively for the intended purpose and in the respective volumes.
The individual shall have access to all information pooled regarding them in any personal data processing system, unless such information may be disclosed under the provisions of the law for national security, protection reasons or with regard to criminal offences.