Number of medical practitioners keeps declining
In 2017, 7 289 physicians had medical practice as the main job thereof, which is 191 persons fewer than in 2016. The total number of physicians in main job has been declining gradually since 2009.
Over the past ten years, the sharpest drop was recorded in the number of oncologists, therapists, paediatricians, otolaryngologists and gynaecologists/ obstetricians, while number of general practitioners rose. In 2017, in-service training in health care institutions was underwent by 805 residents and physicians in service; during the past five years their number has gone up by 78.1 %.
Rise in incidence of serious illnesses/ diseases
In 2017, 11 762 patients were newly diagnosed with malignant neoplasms (11 118 in 2016). At the end of the year, there were 77.3 thousand people in the register of oncological patients (74.0 thousand at the end of 2016).
Healthy life expectancy
Healthy life expectancy indicators are acquired from the information on chronic diseases and self-assessed state of health. In 2016, healthy life expectancy in Latvia constituted 52.3 years among males and 54.9 years among females. Latvian indicators are the lowest in the EU; the highest indicators are recorded in Sweden (73.0 years among males and 73.3 years among females). Latvian healthy life years take 75.0 % of male life expectancy and 69.0 % of female life expectancy, indicating that males tend to live greatest part of their lives without serious health problems. In 2016, the difference between male and female healthy life expectancy accounted for 2.6 years.
Self-perceived general health
In 2018, 40.2 % of Latvia population aged 16 and over had suffered from a longstanding illness or health problem. Some differences may be observed in breakdown of indicators by gender – 44.3 % of females had longstanding illness, while the proportion of males indicating that have suffered from such health problems was smaller – 34.9 %.
Out of the total population of Latvia, 17.3 % had unmet need for dental care, however the indicator varies among different income groups. Almost every third (29.6 %) person with low income (belonging to the first quintile group) did not visit dentist, compared to only 8.1 % of the population with the highest income (living in households of fifth quintile group).