Medical costs

Certain types of medical care must be provided to you free of charge, but you may have to pay for others.

Free medical care

You should receive the same type of free medical care in prison as you would receive in the general community. According to Latvian law, you are entitled to the following medical care free of charge:

  • all emergency medical care (including emergency dental care), whether the treatment takes place at a medical institution within or away from the prison
  • all primary medical care provided by a prison doctor, except for dental care (general treatment by a prison doctor where specialist treatment is not needed)
  • secondary medical care provided by a prison doctor, or if necessary, a doctor outside the prison (specialist treatment such as a gynecologist, surgeon etc.)
  • the most effective and cheapest medication prescribed by a prison doctor
  • other specific state-paid medical care according to Latvian law, if it is necessary and prescribed by a doctor

You are also entitled to basic medical devices (such as prosthetics, a wheelchair etc.) which satisfy your minimum needs if required. Latvian law provides the list of devices which are provided free of charge.

Choice of paid treatment

The State does not have a duty to pay for all the types of medical care you may need. Therefore, the State is not obliged to pay for treatment that you wish to have which is medically unnecessary. It will only pay for the cheapest treatment and medicines that are prescribed by a doctor and are effective for your condition. 

example If the doctor says that there are 3 different types of pills you could take and they are equally effective, the prison administration will provide the cheapest ones. 

How to complain

If you believe that the medical care provided to you was insufficient or inappropriate, or you were asked to pay for medical care that should be free, you should submit a complaint to the Health Inspectorate. The decision of the Health Inspectorate can be appealed to the Director of the Health Inspectorate. This decision can be appealed further to the Administrative Court. You can read more about this procedure in Regulation of Health Inspectorate.

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