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New Infectious Disease Unit of the Emergency Medicine and Patient Admission Clinic at the East Hospital

Today, on 29 February, in the presence of Hosam Abu Meri, Minister of Health, Karina Ploka, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, the Board of Riga East Clinical University Hospital (East Hospital), the management and personnel of the Emergency Medicine and Patient Admission Clinic (NMPUK), the newly built Infection Disease Unit at the NMPUK was inaugurated by the hospital’s hospital and clinic managers and personnel, which will be able to separate the flow of patients with signs of infectious diseases from other patients, thus reducing and eliminating the risks of spreading infections. They are the first hospital premises in the Baltic States that was built in accordance with the highest internationally approved epidemiological safety requirements.

The NMPUK expansion project at the East Hospital will allow separating patient flows, providing triage, diagnosis, and treatment for patients with infectious diseases, while meeting the requirements of limiting further spread of infections and providing an epidemiologically safe treatment environment not only for patients, but also for clinic personnel. They are the first hospital facilities in the Baltic States to be built according to the highest epidemiological safety standards, following the Covid-19 pandemic drills, which require that patients with infectious diseases be separated and treated in a separate flow, but in equally comfortable conditions.

The project was implemented by adding 4,604.5 square metres of Infectious Disease Unit premises on three floors to the existing NMPUK building. The maximum capacity for patient admission exceeds 300 beds, ensuring preparedness for any emergency.

The patient examination rooms and wards of the NMPUK Infectious Disease Unit are spacious, bright, and modern, with all the necessary equipment to ensure adequate hygiene and disinfection conditions. Particular attention has been paid to reinforcing epidemiological requirements by applying a number of technological solutions and innovative devices. The new unit has ergonomic and functional room connections and solutions to ensure that nothing delays the provision of immediate emergency care to patients with acute health issues.

At the launch of the Infection Disease Unit of NMPUK, Health Minister H. A. Meri said: “Today we are witnessing that Latvia is able to develop and modernise its healthcare infrastructure in order to provide better and safer health services to its citizens. This is an important contribution to building a people-centred healthcare system. The construction of the new infectious disease unit will provide an epidemiologically safe environment and modern healthcare services for the patients of the admission clinic, separating the flow of patients with signs of infection from other patients and visitors, minimising the risks of spreading infections in the hospital. We need to be aware that the layout and equipment of the newly built admission clinic and, most importantly, the staff, are not only a matter of patient health, but also of national security.”

Ploka, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Health, acknowledged that the new Infectious Disease Unit of NMPUK is a proof of meaningful investment: “This is a good example of excellent collaboration – every detail has been thought of. Good luck to patients and students!”

“We are truly satisfied that the East Hospital is developing in a targeted and strategic way, partly due to the active participation of the State and the funding from the European Union – ERDF. Together and in close cooperation, we are already moving step by step towards our Hospital of the Future,” said Normunds Stanevičs, Chairman of the Board of East Hospital. “Of course, the medical industry is people first – it’s our patients we work for, it’s our outstanding and talented doctors, it’s our hard-working nurses, nursing and support staff and others. But not only that, and I have emphasised this repeatedly, the 21st century medicine is not possible in the buildings of the early 20th century. The physical building is also important – the environment and facilities where first aid and high-level treatment are provided, and recovery takes place. Modern medical buildings represent a whole new level of philosophy on the road to recovery – a combination of treatment, architecture and technology that ensures epidemiologically safe, rapid, and effective care. Today we have made our country a little safer.”

Professor Haralds Plaudis, Member of the Board of the East Hospital, called for remembrance: “What are the functions of a university hospital? They are treatment, education, and research. And, as we have already emphasised, it is national security. Together, we have survived the Covid-19 crisis and have become wiser, more knowledgeable, more measured, and more collaborative. Although the East Hospital comprises five hospitals in different locations, we are all united towards a common goal – the Hospital of the Future. What we have seen today allows us to say that we are already a methodological management centre in the area of provision of emergency medical care.”

Dr. Aleksejs Višņakovs, head of the Emergency Medicine and Patient Admission Clinic, informed about the activities of the Infectious Disease Unit: “Anyone with acute health issues can come to the Emergency Medicine and Patient Admission Clinic. And our aim is to provide the best medical care and assistance we can and are able to deliver, fast. This is how we have worked so far, and how we will continue to work in the future. Starting today, we are preparing to admit patients to our new premises, which have been built and conceptualised to ensure high-quality admission, examination, and emergency treatment for our infectious disease patients. The operational plan will be revealed at a later stage once the patient routing has been established and the improvement of the department has been completed. The patient flow distribution will be thought out in detail. There are still many things to do together with my colleagues. My biggest gratitude goes to my personnel, who are my like-minded colleagues and the best team ever.”

The Infectious Disease Unit is connected to the surface passage between the two largest hospitals of the East Hospital – Gaiļezers and Oncology Centre of Latvia – and the Pharmacy Service, opened in autumn 2023, providing not only internal logistics for patients and personnel, but also future connections to the planned multi-storey car park and the Infectious Disease Building.

Along with the new NMPUK Infectious Diseases Unit, the East Hospital plans to gradually build a dedicated 72-hour observation ward with additional beds. In addition, the hospital’s infrastructure will be prepared for large-scale accidents and will be able to quickly and efficiently provide the necessary triage, when a large number of injured patients is brought, as the new premises will provide workstations with the necessary equipment to quickly perform tests and examinations on a large number of patients, who will be able to receive emergency care to be transferred with a clear diagnosis for further treatment to one of the hospitals of the East Hospital.

The construction of the NMPUK Infectious Disease Unit at the East Hospital started in November 2021 and was completed in February 2024.

The construction works of the NMPUK Infectious Disease Unit were carried out within the framework of ERDF project No “Riga East Clinical University Hospital Building Infrastructure Development at 4 Hipokrāta Street”, and its cost is EUR 10,303,943.20 (excluding VAT).

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About the East Hospital 

Riga East Clinical University Hospital is the largest and most strategically important multi-profile hospital in the country. The hospital consists of five hospitals: Gaiļezers, Oncology Centre of Latvia, Biķernieki, Centre for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases and Infectology Centre of Latvia with centres and clinics of different profiles. The hospital provides highly specialised inpatient and secondary outpatient healthcare, providing multidisciplinary tertiary-level treatment and care in line with modern technologies and medical knowledge. The hospital provides treatment for about 80% of all cancer patients in Latvia. The hospital provides a practical training base for both Latvian and foreign students and provides continued professional development and knowledge transfer for health professionals in our country and abroad. The hospital carries out scientific research and develops innovative methods for treating patients. The hospital is the third largest employer in the country, with around 5,000 employees.