Egils Levits
Valsts prezidenta Egila Levita uzruna svinīgajā ceremonijā “Gada balva medicīnā 2019”

Good evening, dear Latvian doctors!

I am truly delighted to welcome everyone to a ceremony that celebrates the most excellent representatives of our medical community. This award ceremony has become a staple and an annual get-together for all healthcare professionals, especially doctors.

Health is truly the most precious and most valuable asset one owns. Health protection and promotion is a vital element of social well being. And, as we saw this year, it is also vital for public safety.

Tonight, we are awarding doctors who have shown excellent performance in 2019. A year which seems to belong to a different age from today's perspective. An age when we were not threatened by global pandemic, and possibility of widespread pandemic seemed to have gone many generations ago. Nobody would have even imagined something like that happening.

Pandemic showed us more clearly than probably anything else ever before how fragile our perceived security can be and how crucial tireless and professional care that you, dear healthcare professionals, are providing can be.

History teaches us that times come and go, but people’s ways and how our body works remain the same. Medicines and devices get better, but the mission and duties of a doctor remain the same: to cure and treat everyone who requires medical help.

There is a special aspect of doctor’s professional work that I would like to specifically emphasize. I mean the ability to talk or communicate with their patients. Doctors resembled these God-like creatures to common folk in the olden days, and doctor-patient relationship became more equal-footed and dignified in Western world only in 21st century. Because of modern society demands and attitudes, it is no longer about vertical but rather horizontal communication. Communication understandably driven by empathy, care, desire to help patient be informed, understand various implications. It sounds very noble. However, this is exactly what Latvia should also strive for. It is not just a myth that a healthcare context and communication with a patient has profound effect on one’s recovery.

Unfortunately, in most cases there is a significant mismatch between the weight of responsibility and pay you are receiving for your job or conditions in which you are forced to work. That is due to existing healthcare governance model and efficiency gap. That is why the government must clarify many significant questions about the future of healthcare sector as soon as possible. These questions include more adequate and solidary distribution of public financing made available from the budget to reconcile the needs of medical personnel and patients. This would benefit both the doctors and nurses and the whole society of Latvia, as this would contribute to greater sense of safety.

At the individual level, there is no greater satisfaction for a doctor than seeing his professional achievements, how their knowledge, skills and competencies have contributed to patient’s recovery. That is your professional fulfilment and drive.

Rich and versatile professional experience and general interests enable doctors to understand life situations and specific issues of their patients much better. It is an important element of the relationship between a patient and a doctor that I already referred to earlier. That is why doctors should have possibility and time to grow professionally and also develop their inner world, contemplate life and become aware of their place in the world. That is something every working man living in our day and age would greatly appreciate given the modern-day rush, but you, dear doctors, as guardians of our public health deserve to have this right.

Thank you for never-ending energy and work!

I hope tonight you will enjoy plenty wonderful and inspiring moments.

17.09.2020. Valsts prezidents Egils Levits ar dzīvesbiedri Andru Leviti piedalās svinīgajā ceremonijā “Gada balva medicīnā 2019”